In Congress, a doctor becomes a cancer patient — and preaches candor

Rep. Phil Roe, a Tennessee Republican, speaks with candor and objectivity about the trials — and the surprising moments of joy — that came with a diagnosis.
Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) was diagnosed with prostate cancer in July.

WASHINGTON — Of all the members of Congress, Phil Roe, a Republican from Tennessee, seemed the best prepared for a cancer diagnosis.

When it comes to Roe and medicine, it is hard to separate the personal and the professional: He heads the GOP Doctors Caucus. His colleagues, Republicans and Democrats alike, call him “Doc.‘’ (He is an OB-GYN by trade.) He almost missed his own wedding this May because of a threatened weekend vote on a repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act. And he was practiced at delivering cancer diagnoses to his own patients.

But Roe also acknowledges that he is a terrible patient — his neurosurgeon, he admitted, still wants to strangle him after his woeful attempts to rest after back surgery last year.

So when the call came from his own doctor on that day last July, informing him he had , he was determined to do the right thing.

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