Former Utah Senator Bob Bennett diagnosed with pancreatic cancer

(Reuters) - Former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, the Utah Republican who was one of the first, high-profile political casualties of a 2010 Tea Party insurgency, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and will begin treatment later this week, Utah media reported on Wednesday. Bennett, 81, said in a statement quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune that doctors were hopeful that a "combination of chemotherapy and radiation can shrink the tumor to a point where it will become operable." The Utah Deseret News further quoted the former senator as saying there was "no firm prognosis" for him at this point. Both newspapers said he planned to begin treatment on Friday at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Bennett's bid for a fourth Senate term in 2010 foundered on a conservative backlash over the healthcare overhaul pushed through Congress by President Barack Obama, leading to a revolt against the Republican Party establishment by state Tea Party activists. Tea Party favorite Mike Lee defeated Bennett in a race for the Republican nomination at the Utah state party convention that year and went on to win Bennett's seat in the general election. (Writing by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)