Eric Jakobsson's affliction a mild skin cancer

URBANA — Urbana City Council member Eric Jakobsson said Monday that he does not have melanoma and in fact has a much more mild form of skin cancer,

Jakobsson's wife, state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, said last Friday that she had missed an important Illinois House vote Thursday on a controversial pension reform bill in order to be with her husband, who she said had received a diagnosis of melanoma.

But Eric Jakobsson confirmed Monday that he has what is known as squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer and much less life-threatening than melanoma.

"It's much less aggressive than melanoma and in fact I had it removed this morning," he said.

Asked why his wife had said earlier that he had melanoma, Jakobsson said, "I think it was just a missed communication somewhere. I think it was just a misstatement."

Naomi Jakobsson did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Eric Jakobsson, 74, said the skin cancer was found on his left arm, and probably was the result of holding his arm outside the automobile window when he was a young driver.

"Unfortunately I can't rewrite my history of sun exposure," he said. "I can't help but think this comes from when I was young and careless and was driving cars before the advent of air conditioning and it was kinda cool to have your left arm hanging out the window. This is right where I would have got a lot of sun doing that."

He said he is hopeful for a full recovery.

"All the appearances so far suggest that everything is fine and this is history. I think that there isn't more than a 1 or 2 percent chance that something else is going to pop up," he said. "I'm pretty sure that something else is going to get me."

The pension reform proposal, sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, passed 62-51, with few votes from downstate legislators. Only six of approximately 31 downstate House members, three from each party, voted for the Madigan pension bill.

Jakobsson said last Friday that she also would have voted against the legislation.

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