A front-runner in the race to secure the Republican nomination for governor announces that he's fighting another battle. This one, however, involves his health.

Scott Hawkins said he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer back in February. The businessman said he's in treatment right now, and that his prospects for recovery are good, although he'll likely deal with side effects during the most crucial part of campaign season.

Hawkins won the straw poll at the Republican State Convention in March, beating former valley Senator Mike Dunleavy by 8 votes. Hawkins was the first CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation and founded the Accountability Project, a business-backed political group that helps elect Republicans.

In a press release, Hawkins said he’s undergoing aggressive treatments in Seattle between campaign events. Hawkin's doctor, Dr. Vincent Picozi at Virginia Mason, is leading Hawkin’s treatment program. He is quoted as saying that the cancer has not spread and that Hawkins is in good health otherwise.

“Given the advances in recent years in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, and the results we have been seeing here at Virginia Mason, I am treating him with full curative intent.”

Dr. Steven Liu of Alaska Oncology, another one of Hawkins’ doctors is quoted as saying Hawkins’ tumor is small, and that the plan is to shrink it before they remove it during surgery.

Meanwhile, Hawkins says he won't let the diagnoses keep him out of the race.

“The bottom line is this: I care greatly about this state and am deeply committed to getting it back on track. This diagnosis only accentuates that commitment. Our state is at a crossroads and we need to change direction for the sake of future generations. The support and momentum from Alaska voters for my message of conservative change energizes me more every day.”

Hawkins also said he wanted to tell Alaskan voters that his treatment will last into summer, and the heart of primary season.

“Alaska voters deserve to know the whole picture. Also, I will need the understanding of Alaskans should I lose hair or should my schedule need to be adjusted this summer due to medical treatments. ”

Meanwhile, one of the men running against Hawkins in the primary, former Senator Mike Dunleavy, sent out a statement of support.

“I ask all Alaskans to join me in praying for Scott’s full recovery from this health challenge. I am encouraged by the positive statements from the medical professionals in charge of his treatment.”

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