Convicted ex-Mass. speaker diagnosed with cancer

AP News

5/19/2012 11:07:27 AM - AP News

A former Massachusetts House speaker who's in federal prison on a corruption conviction has been diagnosed with cancer.

Debbie DiMasi, the wife of former Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, says he was diagnosed last month with a rare form of cancer in his tongue and lymph nodes.

The 66-year-old DiMasi was convicted last year of steering state contracts to a software firm in exchange for payments of $65,000. He's serving an eight-year sentence in Lexington, Ky.

Debbie DiMasi says in a statement to The Boston Globe (http://bo.st/KtJ0Z6) that the family was shocked and saddened to learn of the diagnosis. She could not be immediately reached for comment Saturday.

It's not clear where DiMasi will be treated. The Globe reports that statistics show the fatality rate within five years for tongue cancer that spreads is more than 40 percent.