Hawkins undergoing cancer treatment; to continue campaign for governor - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, September 19, 2020
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Hawkins undergoing cancer treatment; to continue campaign for governor

Gubernatorial candidate Scott Hawkins is undergoing treatment for early stage pancreatic cancer, and calls his prospects for recovery good.

Hawkins, an Anchorage businessman who filed for office in September, said he was diagnosed several weeks ago and took quick and decisive action to arrest the tumor, which appears to not have spread.

He is being treated at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle and Alaska Oncology in Anchorage.  He said he is maintaining his business obligations and campaign schedule, and monitoring results from a continuing regimen of drug therapy.

This weekend he will be in Kodiak to meet with community members and hear their concerns about state economic and social issues.

Hawkins issued a statement today:

“In recent months, I learned that I am confronted by a serious adversary — cancer.  Through a dedicated treatment regimen and prayer, I plan to join the tens of thousands of Alaskans who now call themselves cancer survivors. The first round of treatment has provided a great deal of information, and because of my underlying good health, I’m very positive that I will defeat this disease. After consulting with my doctors, and based in large part on their prognosis, I will continue my campaign for Governor.”

Dr. Vincent Picozzi, an oncology physician and internationally recognized pancreatic cancer expert at Virginia Mason in Seattle, is leading Hawkins’ treatment team. He offered this assessment: “Scott presents with very good underlying health and an absence of other complications. His cancer is localized and has not spread to other organs. Given the advances in recent years in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, and the results we have been seeing here at Virginia Mason, I am treating him with full curative intent.”

Picozzi and his staff take in over 300 such cases each year and are considered a national center of excellence in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Stephen Liu of Alaska Oncology, a member of Hawkins’ treatment team, said, “Scott’s tumor is still small.  We will shrink it further with treatment, prior to surgery. That makes him an excellent candidate for a successful surgery. Scott has been tolerating the drug treatments remarkably well, which gives us more treatment options and adds further optimism to his prognosis.”

Regarding his decision to stay in the race, Hawkins said, “The bottom line is this: I care greatly about this state and am deeply committed to getting it back on track.  This diagnosis only accentuates that commitment. Our state is at a crossroads and we need to change direction for the sake of future generations.  The support and momentum from Alaska voters for my message of conservative change energizes me more every day.”

Hawkins is not the only candidate to face health issues. Gov. Bill Walker underwent treatment for prostate cancer in 2016, and Mike Dunleavy dropped out of the race last fall to address a heart condition, but re-entered the race at the end of December after apparently resolving the issue.

Legislative races have seen medical complications, too. Sara Rasmussen, running in the primary for House District 22 (now occupied by Jason Grenn), gave birth to a daughter this week — mother and daughter (and the rest of her family) are fine, although the infant was admitted to the intensive care unit for treatment of fluid in her lungs. Reps. Charisse Millett and Les Gara are both cancer survivors, and this year Rep. David Guttenberg was taken to the hospital for an undisclosed medical condition, while Rep. Ivy Spohnholz was medevaced to Anchorage during legislative session for treatment of a life-threatening pulmonary embolism — a blot clot in her lungs.

Hawkins said that facing cancer has a way of focusing one’s mind on what is most important. “In addition to family, in the arena of public policy I would like to focus on those things that will bring long-lasting benefit to Alaskans. A sustainable fiscal policy that avoids heavy new taxes on families and businesses, and access to affordable health care, are two top examples.”

He decided it was time to disclose his medical condition to Alaskan voters when he learned that the drug treatment regimen will last into the summer, the heart of the primary campaign season.  “Alaska voters deserve to know the whole picture. Also, I will need the understanding of Alaskans should I lose hair or should my schedule need to be adjusted this summer due to medical treatments.”

 

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Hawkins needs to drop out of the race and attend to his health. Pancreatic cancer has a very poor prognosis (20% chance of surviving 5 yrs). It is still considered incurable. He isn’t supporting Alaskans at any rate. He is selling out by supporting such an awful piece of legislation- SB 26. Do the right thing for yourself, your family and Alaska put your money and support on Alaska’s choice for governor…MIKE DUNLEAVY. THE CHOICE IS EASY…..VOTE DUNLEAVY.

    • My goodness you are heartless! Is this protect your dividend even at the cost of your morals? Cap it!

  • I wish him the very best. Not many survive this cancer regardless how early it is detected. Pretty courageous of him to continue the campaign. But unwise imo. I would have thought that he would focus solely on the thing he mentioned: family. Instead he used his “what is important” line to springboard into a campaign line. None of that political stuff means much when you are battling pancreatic cancer. Spending time with your family and friends is the best medicine. Raising money and fighting for votes should mean little at this point in his life.

  • Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, just not their own facts. Actor Colin Friels was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In 1997. He’s alive and well today. Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2009. Alive and well. Singer Ronny Hawkins in 2005. Alive and well today at age 83. Actress Charlotte Rae in 2009. Still making appearances today at age 91. The list goes on. The cure rates on PC are low because the disease is rarely discovered until it is advanced. Hawkins caught the tumor early and should do well with treatment. As for hair, clearly the present administration proves it is not a job requirement…..??

    • And our current governor er also

    • Let’s hope you are correct. I stand by my comment that not many people survive PC. Your statement for the reason for “low cure rate” is very misleading. The cure rate for PC after it is advanced is hardly “low”! It is practically Zero! Your list of those who have survived after early detection and the few others who have as well makes up a very small percentage of those who survive even with early detection. According to AMA less than 1% of those diagnosed with PC survive. That number includes those that are diagnosed early. Google disease/ mortality rates and scroll through the various deadly cancers.
      I hope Hawkins is among the very few lucky ones. And you are right, you are entitled to your opinions but your facts are a bit misleading.

  • Scott all the best to you but throw your support for Mike Dunleavey and work with him to win…Maybe consider a change as a LT Gov, if you wish to carry on…best wishes. The two of you would be a winning ticket no doubt!

  • I believe in faith. Only God can determine our last breath. Scott is doing what he thinks is the right thing to do. So let’s respect his decision to continue the race and support him so he can win two battles. First is to beat the pancreatic cancer and the other is to win so he can be our governor. I am very sure he will do an excellent job to bring Alaska economy back. We all going to win. God bless you all.

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