- Associated Press - Thursday, July 9, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) - Florida Sen. Bill Nelson announced Thursday that he has prostate cancer and will have surgery on Monday.

The cancer was discovered early during a routine medical exam, Nelson’s office said in a statement. Extensive scans showed no evidence that the cancer had spread.

The 72-year-old Democrat the diagnosis does not affect his plan to run for re-election in 2018. He said he had no symptoms.

“I’ve been blessed with good health, which has allowed me the great privilege of public service, and I look forward to continuing serving our country and Florida,” Nelson said.

Nelson is in his third term in the Senate. He also served six terms in the House representing Orlando and the Space Coast.

In 1986, while Nelson was serving in the House, he traveled into space aboard the space shuttle Columbia.

When detected early, prostate cancer rarely causes death, according to the American Cancer Society.

Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine, underwent prostate surgery in June after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He said the surgery was a success.

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