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DOT chief has cancer

State Transportation Secretary H.B. "Buck" Limehouse Jr. has prostate cancer but will stay in office while deciding on his treatment options.

Limehouse, 71, said Wednesday he remains physically fit and the cancer does not appear to be in an overly aggressive stage.

The Charleston native also said he offered to resign after informing Gov. Mark Sanford about his condition a few weeks ago, but the governor wanted him to stay on in the post he has held since 2007. Their terms in office end at the same time, after a new governor takes over following the 2010 election.

Ben Fox, the governor's press spokesman, did not want to address details of their conversation but said Sanford offered his "thoughts and prayers" for Limehouse as his treatment moves forward.

Limehouse said he received the diagnosis a few weeks ago. His treatment options include radiation done locally, or possibly a more specialized plan of proton therapy at Shands HealthCare in Jacksonville, Fla. It is affiliated with the University of Florida Health Science Center.

If he picks that option, Florida's state Transportation Secretary Stephanie C. Kopelousos has offered to provide him with office space in Jacksonville, which should allow Limehouse to continue his S.C. duties when he has to stay there for treatment, he said.

Limehouse said he is in the "due diligence" phase of exploring his options.

"I have talked to probably 50 people," he said, seeking advice.

Limehouse said he has suffered no side effects or weakness or other symptoms, and he still goes daily to the gym and to work. "It is my intention to finish my term."

South Carolina has among the highest incidences of prostate cancer in the nation.

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