Former East Bay Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a top arms control official in President Barack Obama's administration, has been diagnosed with early stage esophageal cancer.
Tauscher told her State Department staff about it last week in a memo posted Tuesday by ForeignPolicy.com.
In the memo, Tauscher wrote: "I had not been feeling well for several weeks. Fortunately, instead of sending me home with some medicine, my doctors did test after test to figure out what was wrong. "... Nothing is certain, but the prognosis is good."
Tauscher represented the 10th Congressional District for 14 years until Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a longtime friend, tapped her in the spring to become the undersecretary for arms control and international security. Tauscher had been subcommittee chairwoman on the Armed Services Committee.
She attacked her new job with her customary vigor and has been intimately involved in the U.S. nonproliferation treaty negotiations with Russia.
In her memo, the 58-year-old said she has started an aggressive treatment regimen, which will include surgery in the fall. She hopes to fully recover by early next year.
"There will be some tough times ahead," she wrote. "But I intend to come in to work as much as I can, work from home when I can't, and curb my travel schedule. This period will not be an easy one."
The esophagus is a muscular tube about 10 inches long that carries food from the throat to the stomach. Treatment can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments, according to the National Center Institute.
Tauscher, who lived part-time in Alamo while in Congress, now lives full-time in Washington, D.C., with her husband.
"As I begin this journey, I appreciate your thoughts and prayers — not just for me — but for my husband, my daughter, and my extended family as well."