Fumo in cancer treatment

Former state Sen. Vince Fumo. (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / FILE)

Former Democratic state Sen. Vince Fumo is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, the Daily News has learned.

The 70-year old Fumo, whose series of health problems is eclipsed only by his series of legal problems, is receiving proton radiation -- a sophisticated, high-tech cancer treatment -- five days a-week at the University of Pennsylvania's Roberts Proton Therapy Center.

Fumo confirmed the regimen in a telephone interview. He said he's been receiving treatment for about five weeks and has another four weeks to go.

He said his prognosis is good, that the specialized, targeted proton treatment has a high rate of success.

Fumo was first elected to the state Senate in 1978 and built a powerful, far-reaching political empire from a base in South Philly before taken down by federal convictions on 137 public corruption charges in 2009.

He served four years in an Ashland, Kentucky federal institution followed by a period of house arrest at his multi-million dollar Spring Garden mansion.

While imprisoned in Kentucky he was scheduled for a prostate biopsy but a cardiac-clearance test revealed serious heart blockage, an ongoing health issue for which he has undergone surgery and treatment in the past. The biopsy was cancelled and Fumo had another heart operation in Kentucky early last year.

He returned to Philadelphia in August 2013. In November, he was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital with internal bleeding, apparently related to undergoing the delayed prostate biopsy.

After results of the biopsy were reviewed, radiation therapy was selected by his physicians as the least risky treatment option given his age and history of heart ailments.

Fumo said his doctors project a full recovery. In December, it was reported he's considering a run for a Democratic State Committee post.