Cancer battle: Senator Chris Dodd

Irish American Senator Christopher Dodd, 65, has been diagnosed with cancer.

Dodd, (D-CT) has been diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer and will have surgery in early August.

However, the senator was upbeat and said his prognosis is good and that he plans to run again next year for a possible sixth term.

Dodd will be operated on in Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York after Congress adjourns for the summer recess next week and says he is "very confident we're going to come out of this well.''

"I'm running for re-election,'' he said. "I'll be a little leaner, a little meaner, but I'm running.''

Dodd, who is chair of the Senate Banking Committee, is also a key player in the battle to reform the health care system. He stepped up to that role when his close friend and fellow Irish American, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) was diagnosed with brain cancer.

"I feel fine,'' Dodd said. "This is very common. If you've got to have cancer, I'm told by some doctors, this is the slowest going, most manageable form to have.''

Dodd also took a swipe at the nation's crumbling health system by highlighting the fact that his cancer was picked up early in a routine physical.

"A person who loses health care coverage, that physical may not be something that you can afford,'' he said. ``I'm fortunate as a member of Congress to have those benefits.''

Dodd faces a rough re-election campaign next year.

A recent poll showed 52 percent of respondents disapproved of his job performance.