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Salvatore DiMasi Cancer: Convicted Ex-Massachusetts House Speaker Has Rare Form Of Disease

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Former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi walks out of the Federal courthouse in Boston, Wednesday, June 15, 2011 afternoon, after his conviction on conspiracy and other charges in a scheme to steer two state contracts worth $17.5 million to a software firm in exchange for payments. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi walks out of the Federal courthouse in Boston, Wednesday, June 15, 2011 afternoon, after his conviction on conspiracy and other charges in a scheme to steer two state contracts worth $17.5 million to a software firm in exchange for payments. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

BOSTON -- 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.

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.

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Convicted Ex-Mass. Speaker Diagnosed With...

Convicted ex-Mass. speaker diagnosed with cancer