California’s US Rep. Garamendi Announces Cancer Diagnosis

California’s US Rep. Garamendi Announces Cancer Diagnosis

Rep. John Garamendi at a news conference in Washington on May 23, 2024. (Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin


Updated: 7/9/2024


Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), who represents Contra Costa and Solano counties in the Bay Area, announced on social media July 8 that he is starting treatment for multiple myeloma, a treatable blood cancer.
In a statement posted on X, the 79-year-old congressman described in a video how he discovered he had cancer.
“Pre-screening that strange bump was standard but the call from my doctor wasn’t,” he said in the video.
His doctor asked him when he would be back in California to take a series of tests.
“Thus began my journey with multiple myeloma,” he said. “And I’m embarked on my journey to remission with a course of chemo-immunotherapy as an outpatient at Kaiser Oncology in Sacramento.”
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of blood plasma cells. Plasma cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that protect people from infection. With myeloma, cells grow too much, crowding out normal cells in the bone marrow that make red blood cells, platelets, and other white blood cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mr. Garamendi, who is one of 52 U.S. congressmen from California, said his doctor expects the treatments will last “a few months” and he plans to continue working on projects and goals for his constituents during that time.
Doctors have told the congressman to reduce any unnecessary exposure to COVID-19, influenzas, and other viruses, he said.
“In addition to destroying cancer cells, chemotherapy impairs natural antibodies and undermines the body’s immune system,” Mr. Garamendi said.
The congressman lives with his wife Patricia in Walnut Grove, California, about 30 miles south of the Capitol in Sacramento. He is in his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and will be seeking reelection on the November ballot.
He served in the California state Legislature as an assemblyman and a senator prior to his current position.
As a congressman, Mr. Garamendi advocates for gun control, Social Security and Medicare, and economic issues, according to his website. He is also the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness.
Mr. Garamendi’s communications director in Washington did not return a request for information about whether the congressman plans to continue voting or participating in daily House business.

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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