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N.D. Governor Hopeful Has Surgery

September 26, 2000

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heidi Heitkamp underwent cancer surgery Monday, five days after doctors discovered the cancer in her right breast.

The operation is normally accompanied by weeks of follow-up treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation, but campaign manager Denise Lawson said Heitkamp intends to continue her run for governor.

``At this time, she is still very much in the race,″ Lawson said.

A campaign statement described the surgery as a modified radical mastectomy, which involves removal of the affected breast and some neighboring lymph nodes. The lymph system helps the body fight infections. Doctors quoted in the statement said there were no complications.

Heitkamp, 44, likely will remain hospitalized for a few days before leaving to recuperate at home, Lawson said. It wasn’t known how long the treatments would take or what effect they will have on Heitkamp’s ability to campaign.

Her Republican opponent, John Hoeven, said he was ``deeply concerned about Heidi’s health. We wish her a full and speedy recovery, and will keep her and her family in our prayers.″

Hoeven had ordered his campaign ads on radio and television pulled on Wednesday and Thursday after Heitkamp’s diagnosis was announced.

Heitkamp, a former state tax commissioner who is finishing her second term as the state’s attorney general, and Hoeven, president of the nation’s only state-owned bank, are vying to replace Republican Gov. Ed Schafer, who is retiring after two terms. North Dakota has never had a female governor.

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On the Net:

American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org

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