WASHINGTON, July 9 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and will undergo surgery next week to treat it, his office said on Thursday.
Nelson's cancer was discovered in its early stages during a routine medical exam and the 72-year-old will have surgery on Monday, his office said in a statement. "Extensive scans showed no signs of the cancer spreading outside the prostate," it said.
The statement said the diagnosis does not affect Nelson's plans to run for re-election in 2018.
"I've been blessed with good health, which has allowed me the great privilege of public service, and I look forward to continuing serving our country and Florida," Nelson said in a statement.
Nelson, a lawyer with a low-key demeanor, was elected to the Senate in 2000 and is serving his third six-year term. While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, he flew into space aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1986, spending six days orbiting Earth. (Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Eric Walsh)