07/14/2011 12:27 EDT | Updated 09/13/2011 05:12 EDT

Lise St-Denis, New NDP Quebec MP, Will Continue Working Despite Cancer

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- LA TUQUE, Que. - A newly elected Quebec MP says she is battling cancer but will continue to serve the constituents in her riding.

NDP member Lise St-Denis says she has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the lymphatic system.

The retired schoolteacher missed the last few days of the parliamentary session and has been away from work the last few weeks while seeking treatment in Montreal.

St-Denis, 71, represents the central Quebec riding of Saint-Maurice-Champlain, which was once part of Jean Chretien's riding.

Doctors say St-Denis is responding well to treatment and her prognosis is good.

A local newspaper report says she has faced some criticism for not being visible in the riding.

But St-Denis has issued a statement in which she reveals her illness, and explains that she expects to continue her work.

She noted that riding offices are already open in Grand-Mere and La Tuque and she has a team in place.

"I want to reassure the people of Saint-Maurice-Champlain that even if I had to be away from the riding for the past few weeks to receive treatment, my office continues to work hard to serve the constituents of this riding," St-Denis said.

The former teacher was one of 59 Quebec MPs voted in during the 2011 federal election.