Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Missoula's mayor has cancer and may need to scale back his responsibilities

Mayor John Engen
Sally Mauk
Mayor John Engen.

Missoula Mayor John Engen has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and will soon begin treatment. The long-time mayor says he may have to step back from his duties.

A news release from Mayor Engen’s office Tuesday says he’s experienced fatigue and abdominal pain for several months.

An MRI last Wednesday and biopsy on Friday confirmed he has adenocarcinoma — a type of cancer — on his pancreas as well as a cancerous tumor on his liver.

Physicians have not yet determined a prognosis, but treatment is expected to begin after an oncology consultation next week.

Engen, Missoula’s longest-serving mayor, was first elected in 2006 and easily won re-election last year.

Tuesday’s news release says his full calendar of appointments may get rearranged depending on treatment and his strength.

Engen is also quoted as saying, “I’m still very much at the helm, but if I am incapacitated and no longer able to meet the obligations of this job, I’ll step down.”

O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the University of Montana School of Journalism. His first career job out of school was covering the 1995 Montana Legislature. When the session wrapped up, O’Brien was fortunate enough to land a full-time position at the station as a general assignment reporter. Feel free to drop him a line at
Become a sustaining member for as low as $5/month
Make an annual or one-time donation to support MTPR
Pay an existing pledge or update your payment information