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Spokane mayor
fighting liver cancer

Spokane mayor
fighting liver cancer

Embattled Spokane, Wash., mayor James E. West, already fighting a sex scandal and a recall effort, will resume chemotherapy after lesions were discovered on his liver, according to an e-mail the mayor sent to city employees late Wednesday. West, 54, told employees that he will resume chemotherapy on Friday and have treatments Friday, Saturday, and Sunday every other week. "A few weeks ago my blood counts started up, and I had a CT scan," West wrote. "My doctor discovered that I have a couple of cancer lesions that have reoccurred from my earlier colon cancer."

West said he expects to be back to work on Monday and maintain a full work schedule. "I only tell you this to prevent wild rumors," West wrote. "I will still be doing my job, and I don't intend to let this slow me down." West ended the note by calling for nominations for employee of the month.

In May, The Spokesman-Review newspaper began running a series of articles raising allegations against West of child sex abuse and misuse of public office. The newspaper outed West as a closeted gay man and reported that two young men who met West on the Internet through a gay chat line accused him of offering them gifts or City Hall positions for sex.

One of the people he met online was a computer expert hired by the newspaper to help verify the account given by another young man. West has denied he broke any laws but has admitted to poor judgment in his personal life. The FBI is investigating whether he misused his office.

A recall petition is before the Washington State supreme court with an allegation that West's offers of a city internship to the computer expert, whom he thought was an 18-year-old high school student, was "an improper exercise of an official duty." The court is scheduled to hear arguments on West's appeal of the recall language the week of August 22. Last week West announced that the Spokane city budget is in dire straits, with a gap of as much as $6 million between revenues and expenses.

West said he doesn't know how long the chemotherapy regimen will last. West also had chemotherapy in 2003, after he was diagnosed with colon cancer while serving as a state senator. He had chemotherapy again in 2004, after he was elected mayor. He had no hair loss or nausea from previous treatments but did experience some fatigue and lack of appetite. In late 2003 he underwent surgery to remove part of his liver, where the colon cancer had spread. West said he had a colonoscopy in June, which showed no problems, and went in for routine blood tests in July. (AP)

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