Cook County board president has prostate cancer
June 19, 2007 (WLS) -- Cook County Board President Todd Stroger is recovering from prostate cancer surgery, according to his spokesperson. His doctors aren't talking about his condition, but his spokesperson says Stroger spent Tuesday night at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
One doctor describes the surgery Todd Stroger underwent as common but by no means routine. That was the word Stroger's spokesperson used to describe it Monday. Tuesday, Stroger's team is doing its best to put a positive spin on the ten months of silence that surrounded this illness.
The Cook County Board president is said to doing well following surgery that removed his prostate. That information comes from Todd Stroger's political; team. The doctors treating Stroger have not been made available for comment.
"We are committed to being as open as possible -- but while respecting the family's wish for privacy. It's a delicate balancing act," said Ibis Antongiorgi, Stroger spokesperson.
Monday, Stroger's team would only say he was undergoing what they called a "routine medical procedure." Tuesday, they confirmed it's cancer of the prostate, first diagnosed during the campaign ten months ago.
"I think we owe the public open, honest and transparent government and that includes full disclosure," said Tony Peraica, (R) Cook County commissioner.
"They got all kinds of cures for cancer. He waited till the last minute to make sure he had to have the operation," said Bill Beavers, (D) Cook County commissioner.
"In fact, with this issue, the president as soon as he's better he wants to launch a public awareness campaign around prostate cancer," said Antongiorgi.
Todd's father John made a similar declaration nearly a decade ago after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He promised more outreach and screenings throughout the county. The Department of Health managed a small uptick in screenings in 2000, but the number has since retreated. The Department screened just 238 men in all of Cook County last year.
"This is a disease that potentially can be cured; so no matter how uncomfortable it may be for patients, it's very important," said Dr. Courtney M. P. Hollowell, Stroger Hospital.
Todd Stroger's spokeswoman says his doctors told him to go to Northwestern -- so that's where he went.
As for the meager number of prostate cancer screenings, the Cook County Health Department says the numbers are flat because it is doing a better job of specifically targeting those with a high risk for prostate cancer.
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