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California Rep. John Garamendi says he has a rare form of blood cancer

Longtime California politician and congressman John Garamendi announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with a rare blood cancer called multiple myeloma.

in statement And Video Post to social media platform X On Monday afternoon, Rep. Garamendi, 79, D-Walnut Grove, said doctors had detected the cancer early on. He recalled his doctor calling him and asking, “When are you coming back to California? We need you to come in for a series of tests.”

Multiple myeloma weakens the immune system and makes some vaccines less effective: the cancer attacks plasma cells, limiting the body's ability to produce antibodies needed to fight infections.

Garamendi said he plans to continue working while undergoing outpatient treatment at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Sacramento. He said he is undergoing chemo-immunotherapy, a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, to strengthen the body's immune system.

Garamendi said his doctors have warned him to reduce unnecessary exposure to viruses such as COVID-19 and the flu while he is immunocompromised, and his office said he plans to limit travel to Washington and public events.

“I send my love and solidarity to all the families battling cancer and other health issues, and to the doctors, nurses and medical professionals who give us comfort and hope,” Garamendi said.

Garamendi served as California's lieutenant governor under Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from 2007 to 2009. He was the state's first elected insurance commissioner in the 1990s and served in the state Legislature from 1974 to 1990, where he was a vocal supporter of Medicare for All.

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