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Layton has prostate cancer, vows to continue as leader

This story was altered at 1:25 pm, Friday, February 5.

Jack Layton has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but does not plan to step down as NDP leader.

Layton told a press conference in Toronto:

This year, more than 25,000 Canadian men will be diagnosed with treatable prostate cancer and I have recently learned that I'm one of them.

It's the same kind of prostate cancer that my father was diagnosed with 17 years ago.

He, like the overwhelming majority of Canadian men with prostate cancer, fought it and won.

His treatments were successful, and I intend to tackle this with the same determination that he did.

Like my dad, I am a fighter. And I will beat this.

My treatment plan is now underway and everything is on track. In the coming weeks, the schedule of my treatment regime means I may have a bit more time to catch the Olympics.

The hard work and drive of our Canadian athletes will be an inspiration.

I want to assure my constituents and the Canadian public that this will in not impede my ability to serve as either the Member of Parliament for Toronto Danforth or as leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada.

His father, former Conservative cabinet minister Robert Layton stepped down from the House of Commons in 1993 after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Robert Layton eventually died in 2002 at age 76 from Parkinson’s disease.

Layton reportedly spent a lot of time with his father in his final years, visiting him every day in a nursing home.

Layton, who will turn 60 in July, has been leader of the federal New Democratic Party since 2003. Under his leadership, the NDP almost doubled the party's popular vote in the 2004 election. The NDP won further gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections, and how holds 37 seats in the House of Commons -- just six seats shy of the party's all-time high under Ed Broadbent.

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