09/12/2011 04:44 EDT | Updated 11/12/2011 05:12 EST

NDP leadership hopeful Topp faced prostate cancer

Within months of the NDP's late leader Jack Layton learning he had prostate cancer, the man now trying to succeed him was diagnosed with the same disease.

Brian Topp, who declared himself a candidate in his party's leadership contest on Monday, said his prostate cancer was detected early on and that he's doing well.

He was asked about his health status during the press conference where he announced his intention to enter the leadership race and answered in French that if prostate cancer is caught early there is a 95 per cent chance of overcoming it.

"I'm in that category. I'm very lucky. I'm doing well and I wouldn't be pursuing the leadership if that were an issue," he said.

Layton was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December 2009 and Topp in June 2010. In September of that year, Topp wrote about his experience with prostate cancer in the Globe and Mail and offered advice to the 25,000 Canadians who receive the same diagnosis every year. He noted that Layton had always taken better care of his health than he did. "We've worked together on several federal campaigns. Now we're also tackling a different opponent together," he wrote.

Topp wrote in detail about his condition, treatment options for people with prostate cancer, and which one he chose. He said he found reading articles by other people beneficial when he was dealing with his cancer and wrote about his experience in order to help others.

Topp advised those with prostate cancer to choose the treatment option that's right for them, and "then don't look back."

He said Monday that his experience with prostate cancer isn't holding him back.

"Things are going well now and now I'm moving on to this great adventure, which will be very interesting and which will continue the work begun by Jack Layton," Topp said in French.

Layton received a second cancer diagnosis this summer but didn't disclose what form of the disease he had. He died Aug. 22.