Trump's Russia ambassador Jon Huntsman reveals cancer diagnosis

Trump's Russia ambassador Jon Huntsman reveals cancer diagnosis

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. has been diagnosed with stage 1 cancer, he disclosed in an interview published Thursday in The Deseret News, but expressed optimism he will recover.

"It’s just stage 1,” Huntsman told the publication. "So we’ll probably get it taken care of, and we’ll be fine."

The ambassador, who ran for president in 2012, said he noticed a small black spot behind his ear and another on his thigh. He had them examined during a trip home to Utah over the summer, and received the diagnosis upon returning to Russia.

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Huntsman, 58, said he had both moles removed, and doctors told him he would likely be OK since they caught the disease quickly. He will require regular checkups to ensure the cancer did not spread, he added.

"It kind of puts things in perspective," Huntsman said.

His father died in February after a battle with cancer, and his friend, the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Cindy McCain takes aim at Trump: We need a strong leader, 'not a negative Nancy' McCain would have said ‘enough’ to acrimony in midterms, says Cindy McCain MORE (R-Ariz.), died in August of brain cancer.

Huntsman told The Deseret News that he was careful to keep his diagnosis private out of concern that Russian officials might use it in propaganda against him.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE appointed Huntsman, the former governor of Utah and ex-ambassador to China, as his top envoy to Russia during the summer of 2017. 

Huntsman has been prominent amid tense relations between the U.S. and Russia. U.S. intelligence officials concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, a charge Trump has cast doubt on at times.

Huntsman said in July he would not resign from the post amid intense backlash toward Trump for his comments during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.