Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono, who underwent two surgeries for kidney cancer after it was diagnosed in May, said in a statement to the media Tuesday that she will now be treated for “small spots in my thyroid gland.”

The statement did not indicate if the “spots” are cancerous, but she said she “will be undergoing immunotherapy, a cutting-edge treatment, to enable my own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.”

Senator Mazie Hirono inour editorial board1.

Sen. Mazie Hirono speaks to the Civil Beat Editorial Board in August.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

She went on to say:

“This is different than chemotherapy, which suppresses the immune system. The most recent public person who has benefited from immunotherapy is President Jimmy Carter in his fight against melanoma. I expect to continue to do my job during the course of this treatment.”

Hirono reiterated her plans to seek re-election in 2018.

“Having cancer sucks, but I know that there are people in our country facing major health issues every single day,” she said in the statement.

Hirono was elected to the Senate in 2012 and has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump in recent months.

She told Civil Beat in August she would not allow her health concerns to stop her from standing up for her political beliefs and energetically campaigning for re-election.

“I’m still as feisty as ever,” Hirono said. “This administration presents so many opportunities to voice our concerns.”

She now serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, holding a post as ranking member on the seapower subcommittee.

Before she was elected to the Senate, Hirono served as a congresswoman, lieutenant governor and state representative.

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