By Mary Slosson
SACRAMENTO (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown is undergoing treatment for early-stage prostate cancer with an excellent prognosis for recovery, and the 74-year-old Democrat is expected to keep up a full work schedule, his office said on Wednesday.
"Fortunately, this is early-stage localized prostate cancer, which is being treated with a short course of conventional radiotherapy," Dr. Eric Small, Brown's oncologist, said in a statement.
"The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects," he added. Small is the co-director of the urology program at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.
The announcement came as California lawmakers prepare for a 2013 legislative session that will kick off a historic year in which Democrats have supermajority control of both houses - the first time any party has had such a grip on the Legislature in 79 years.
Brown, who had a cancerous growth removed from the right side of his nose in April 2011, will complete his treatment for prostate cancer in early January, around the same time the Legislature is due to convene, his office said.
He is expected to keep a full work schedule, it added.
Brown is riding a string of successes in recent months. Voters in November approved a tax hike he championed, while soundly rejecting a measure he opposed that would have gutted union political power.
He also oversaw approval of a high-speed rail project and has been reining in an unwieldy budget deficit that has plagued California in recent years.
AFFECTS ONE IN SIX MEN
Brown's office did not immediately respond to questions as to when the governor was diagnosed with prostate cancer, how long he had been undergoing treatment, or where he was being treated.
During Brown's outpatient cancer treatment in 2011, doctors removed basal carcinoma cells and did reconstructive surgery to his nose.
The California Democratic and Republican parties both wished the governor a speedy recovery. Also weighing in was a Twitter account set up for the governor's dog, a Welsh corgi named Sutter, that said the dog would take good care of his owner.
One in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. It is the most common cause of cancer-related death for men over 75 years of age.
Brown became one of the youngest governors of California when he took office in 1975 at age 36, going on to serve two consecutive terms. He later returned to that office in 2011 and is now the oldest governor the state has ever had.
Brown faded from public view after two failed presidential runs, but resurrected his political career in 1998, transforming himself into a quirky, pragmatic mayor of Oakland.
After eight years in Oakland, Brown was elected California attorney general and held the post until he was elected governor again in 2010.
(Reporting by Mary Slosson; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)