Right wing leader Benny Elon said his recent throat cancer diagnosis will not keep him from heading the joint National Union-National Religious Party list as it heads into the last month before the March elections. Making light of illness at a press conference on Tuesday, Elon said, "I might lose some hair from my beard" but that otherwise he does not believe the illness would impact his political activities. "Israel is in a worse state that I'm in," said Elon of the National Union. NRP head Zevulun Orlev who had quarreled with Elon in the past over leadership for the joint list, said that he was fully confident that Elon would remain at its helm. Elon said that while "the word cancer is very scary," with God's help he was lucky to have caught the laryngeal cancer early and is expected to recover fully. His unusually horse voice tipped him off to the problem last month. Typically his voice is somewhat hoarse, he said, but had been worse than usual in the past months. Initially he chalked it up to the talking he was doing during the campaign, but when it lasted an unusually long time, he checked it out. He underwent minor surgery last month to remove the tumor, after which he had to rest his voice for eight days. Now he has begun six weeks of radiation therapy. "I will have 15 minutes every day against the laser, " said Elon, who has already received two treatments. "I did not race to publicize my illness," said Elon. But he now that news of it has spread to the media on Tuesday, he is not hiding it either. "If there is a message in all of this, it's that early detection is important," said Elon.

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