Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Announces Cancer Diagnosis

Over the weekend, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents the 18th district of Texas, announced that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In her online announcement, the congresswoman revealed that she is undergoing treatment to battle the disease.

“I am confident that my doctors have developed the best possible plan to target my specific disease,” she wrote in the statement. “The road ahead will not be easy, but I stand in faith that God will strengthen me.”

Jackson Lee, a lawyer by trade, has been representing Texas’ 18th congressional district since 1995. She currently sits on the House Committee on the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Judiciary Subcommittee of Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.

Pancreatic cancer, which is located in the organ, can be aggressive and difficult to detect early. According to a report by Johns Hopkins Pathology, Black women have a higher incidence rate of pancreatic cancer compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Researchers believe a combination of genetics, socioeconomic factors and access to healthcare can play a role in this high rate.

Despite her diagnosis, Jackson Lee vows to continue serving as a representative. “I am committed to working with our congressional leadership…to serve this nation and be present for votes on legislation that is critical for the prosperity and security of the American people. By God’s grace, I will be back at full strength soon.”

Many fellow Black female politicians, such as Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, have extended healing thoughts to Jackson Lee on the X platform. “I’m praying for healing and that you and your family will have strength for the journey,” Stratton writes. “Wishing you the very best, Congresswoman.”

Updated: June 3, 2024 — 12:03 pm