TAUZIN
Susan Walsh  /  AP
Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., in a September 2003 file photo.
updated 3/9/2004 10:14:25 PM ET 2004-03-10T03:14:25

Rep. Billy Tauzin was diagnosed with a rare form of intestinal cancer, but the Republican said Tuesday that he is confident of a full recovery.

The cancer was found in the upper small intestine during tests at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he will undergo surgery next week, Tauzin spokesman Ken Johnson said.

Tauzin, 60, had been suffering from bleeding ulcers for a while and had suspected cancer, Johnson said.

“Like my mom, who is a three-time cancer survivor, I have received a blessed early warning, and I will have the chance to live a normal life again,” Tauzin wrote in a letter to constituents.

Tauzin will take a monthlong medical leave of absence from the House, Johnson said. He is scheduled for surgery at Johns Hopkins on Wednesday.

He is expected to be hospitalized for about 10 days and to spend about two weeks recovering at home, Johnson said.

Relatively few people suffer cancer in the small intestine. There were 5,300 new cases in the United States in 2003, according to the American Cancer Society.

Tauzin announced early this year that he would not seek re-election after 24 years in Congress.

His son, Billy Tauzin III, has formed an exploratory committee with an eye toward filling the seat. Charlie Melancon, a Democrat and former president of the American Sugar Cane League, is the only announced candidate so far.

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