Tillis planning to skydive on birthday as he recuperates from cancer surgery

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 30, 2021

CHARLOTTE (AP) — North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis says he feels great following prostate cancer surgery earlier this month, which was diagnosed at the height of his reelection campaign last fall.

“Came out of surgery with the typical post-operative challenges. But that lasted for about a week,” Tillis told Charlotte TV station WCNC in an interview.

Tillis, who has returned to Washington for work, said his illness surfaced in October. A routine physical and PSA blood test revealed the possibility of prostate cancer. Tillis said he has a family history of the disease. A biopsy confirmed the diagnosis.

The 60-year-old Republican said this week he chose surgery over less aggressive treatment options in part due to his official Senate duties. At the time of his diagnosis, he said, “I was already in project mode to figure out how we’ll beat this.”

“There’s no guarantee there aren’t prostate cancer cells somewhere else in my body. But since we’ve reduced the chance of it spreading, it’s just a matter of managing it,” Tillis added.

Tillis, who began a second term in January after defeating Democrat Cal Cunningham in November, said he’s slowly adding exercise back into his routine, and is aiming to skydive on his birthday in August.

The senator said he wants to stop the stigma associated with prostate cancer, treatments and side effects.

“It just seemed silly to me to be embarrassed about getting any type of disease. It’s like getting embarrassed for getting the flu,” Tillis said.