US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. has stage one cancer, he revealed in an interview with the Deseret News published Thursday.
"It's just stage one," Huntsman said. "So we'll probably get it taken care of, and we'll be fine."
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After noticing small black spots on his ear and leg, Huntsman told the Deseret News that he met with doctors at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah and later had the moles removed. He will need regular checkups to ensure the cancer has not spread, the paper reported.
The cancer diagnosis has deep significance for the former Utah governor. Huntsman lost his father to cancer in February, the paper reported, and the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a close personal friend, also had melanoma -- the same type of cancer as Huntsman.
"It kind of puts things in perspective," Huntsman said.
According to the paper, Huntsman was also careful not to reveal his cancer to anyone in Moscow, worrying about how the information would be received. Huntsman was confirmed as US ambassador to Russia last year and has been frequently targeted by state media propaganda.
A State Department spokesperson told CNN they received this statement Thursday from Huntsman: "Ambassador Huntsman would like to thank his medical team who were quick with their early diagnosis and provided excellent treatment. The melanoma was detected early, and Ambassador Huntsman is already back in Moscow with his family and Embassy colleagues, hard at work representing the United States."
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment about Huntsman's diagnosis.
The wide-ranging profile also touched on Huntsman's role as the United States' leading statesman in Russia and how he navigates the US-Russia relationship in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
When asked about potential consequences if Russia were to interfere in the upcoming midterm elections, Huntsman told the paper: "We don't want to foreshadow what it could be. But it could be pretty dramatic."
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