LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning said he has been diagnosed with colon cancer but was optimistic that a surgery scheduled for Thursday would remove the disease.
Bruning disclosed his diagnosis on Wednesday, saying he wouldn't know whether the cancer had spread until further tests were done. He believes the cancer was caught early.
"I've got a great support system, but it is certainly a scary moment, when your doctor tells you that," Bruning said. "But it's something that millions of American families have had to deal with, and my situation is not unique."
Doctors expect to remove about 8 inches of his colon and lymph nodes during surgery, he said.
The 44-year-old said the cancer was discovered during a colonoscopy in November. Two polyps were found, and one was cancerous. He said he expects to stay in the hospital for four to seven days. If the cancer has spread, he said, he may have to undergo chemotherapy.
Bruning said he announced the diagnosis in hopes that other people would seek colonoscopies. Bruning said he occasionally uses alcohol and tobacco, but has otherwise taken care of his health.
"It's a scary time, but I'm very optimistic that I'm going to be one of the lucky ones," he said. "The key in any cancer detection is whether or not you catch it early. And I feel that we've caught it early."
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.