(CNN) - Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings announced Monday that he is being treated for pancreatic cancer and that he plans to remain in Congress during the treatment, saying that "this is a battle worth fighting."
"I was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in the midst of this traumatizing news, I found myself wondering not only if I would survive this disease, but also if it would impact my ability to perform my duties," Hastings said in a statement. "Now that I have begun treatment, I feel hopeful about survival and about my ability to continue serving my constituents of Florida's 20th Congressional district and the nation."
"I have been convinced that this is a battle worth fighting, and my life is defined by battles worth fighting," Hastings, a Democrat, wrote in the statement. "Should it become clear that this cancer which has invaded my body cannot be defeated, I will tell you so."
Hastings, 82, became the longest-serving member of Florida's congressional delegation earlier this month following the departure of Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. He first began serving in 1993 after being impeached by the House and removed from office as a federal judge by the Senate in 1989.
In his statement, Hastings, who is being treated at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC, asked for "your prayers at this time."
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