CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ State Sen. Emily Couric, older sister of NBC's ``Today'' show host, announced Thursday she has pancreatic cancer and will not run for lieutenant governor next year.

Couric, 53, who has been considered a rising star in the Virginia Democratic Party, said she was told of the diagnosis Wednesday.

``My doctors, family and I are now working on designing the best course of treatment to address this cancer,'' she told reporters.

Couric won a Senate seat in 1996 and had been raising money for a bid for lieutenant governor for the 2001 election.

``Many, many people have pledged their support to my candidacy for lieutenant governor and have actually begun the hard work of a long campaign,'' she said. ``It would not be fair ... to let them continue when I cannot give such a campaign the time and energy it deserves.''

Couric, who lives in Charlottesville, said she will continue serving in the General Assembly. She was elected to a second four-year term last year.

Her sister Katie Couric has been campaigning to raise awareness about colon cancer following the 1998 death of her husband, TV legal analyst Jay Monahan, from the disease at age 42.

The ``Today'' show host held a monthlong public-awareness campaign in March and even underwent a colonoscopy on the air to educate viewers about cancer tets.

On Thursday's ``Today'' show, she interviewed guests about the disease.