B.C. Premier John Horgan to have biopsy surgery after discovering growth on throat

·3 min read
B.C. Premier John Horgan, seen at a news conference on Oct. 7, said on Thursday he will have surgery tomorrow after discovering a growth in his throat.  (Mike McArthur/CBC - image credit)
B.C. Premier John Horgan, seen at a news conference on Oct. 7, said on Thursday he will have surgery tomorrow after discovering a growth in his throat. (Mike McArthur/CBC - image credit)

B.C. Premier John Horgan has announced he will undergo biopsy surgery on Friday after discovering a lump on his throat several months ago.

The premier spoke about his health at an impromptu news conference on Thursday. He said he's been told his condition is treatable and that he is not stepping down as premier.

"I am confident that I will have a complete recovery," said Horgan, 62.

The premier said he has appointed Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth as deputy premier as a precaution, in the event he needs help with his duties.

WATCH | Horgan discusses his health and Farnworth's move to deputy premier:

Benign growth confirmed

Horgan said he first felt the lump in his throat a number of months ago and has been in and out of hospital for testing in recent weeks. The tests confirmed a benign growth on his throat and the need for a biopsy on Friday.

"The biopsy surgery tomorrow will reveal what exactly we're dealing with," he said. "The issue in respect to my neck is benign, but in the investigation of that initial concern of mine, another concern was discovered, and that's what we're dealing with tomorrow.

"It is certainly treatable, as I've been told."

He said he expects the pathology report to come back Friday evening, after which point he and his medical team will determine further treatment. He reiterated that he and the team are optimistic but did say he was concerned his condition could impact his ability to speak in the short-term.

"Which is some comfort for my spouse, Ellie," he said, offering a moment of levity. "It'll be quieter around my house."

The premier said he made the decision to speak about the details of health in the spirit of openness and because it's the kind of diagnosis many other families deal with daily.

"This is a small-town, Victoria," Horgan said. "I'll be staying overnight as a result of this surgery and that type of information just doesn't stay quiet. I think transparency is really important in these situations."

Premier previously survived cancer

Horgan was previously diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2008. He was declared cancer-free after surgery and treatment.

"It's important, I think, for people to understand that this isn't the first time I've experienced a health issue like this, and it's the extraordinary efforts of our public health-care system that gives me complete confidence that all will be well for me," he said Thursday.

"For those of you out there who do have concerns about this or that, don't wait. See a doctor."

After the news conference, Opposition Leader Shirley Bond issued a statement offering her support to the premier.

"Today's news comes as a shock to all of us," Bond wrote, noting she has personally known Horgan for nearly 20 years.

"On behalf of the entire B.C. Liberal Caucus and all of my colleagues, I want to send our best wishes to John Horgan and his family … I look forward to the day when a completely healthy Premier Horgan returns to the Legislature."

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