Washington (CNN) - A report revealed late Saturday evening Boston's longtime former mayor, Thomas Menino, has been diagnosed with an advanced form of cancer.
In an extensive interview with the Boston Globe's Brian McGrory and Andrew Ryan, Menino, who retired after holding Boston's top job for over 20 years in January, disclosed that cancer has spread to his liver and lymph nodes.
According to the paper, the former mayor began a chemotherapy regimen at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and expects to receive three more chemotherapy sessions. Menino told the Globe that doctors ruled out surgery because he falls in the 3 or 4 % of cancer patients whose cancer can't be traced to an origin point within the body.
The 71-year-old described his current battle against the disease as "the most profound challenge of his life."
"My attitude really is, we'll get through it," Menino told the paper. "We got through the [illnesses in 2012], we'll get through this. I have great doctors and supportive friends."
"What else can you do," he said. "What I don't want is people feeling sorry for me. I don't want sympathy. There are people worse off than me. It's my biggest concern - I don't want to be treated any differently."
Menino says the diagnosis took him completely by surprise and his doctors agree; despite the mayor's litany of past illnesses, there were no indications that something was wrong.
The former mayor is no stranger to medical hardship. During his tenure in city hall, Menino was hospitalized numerous times - for kidney stones in 1995 and 1997, for surgery to remove a tumor on his back in 2003, and when he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 2004.
More recently, the mayor spent eight weeks in Boston hospitals in late 2012 after he fell ill on a European vacation. Menino didn't leave until after being diagnosed with a respiratory infection, a blood clot, suffering a cracked vertebra, and ultimately being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The series of medical developments prompted Menino's retirement.
Still, doctors insist that nothing in Menino's X-rays or tests showed any trace of the cancer.
"It's very simple," Menino told McGrory and Ryan. "I was diagnosed. I've got treatment coming. I believe I'll get through it. And I'll be at work Monday morning.”
While he seems unfazed by the prospect of beating cancer, Menino admitted he frets over how his family has taken the news.
"I don't worry about me," Menino said. "I worry about my family. I can take it."
"I'll be OK," Menino added. "I have to be. I want to watch my grandkids grow up.”