10/03/2014 09:36 EDT | Updated 12/03/2014 05:59 EST

Keith Ashfield, Tory MP, Begins New Battle With Hodgkin Lymphoma

FREDERICTON - The Conservative member of Parliament for Fredericton has begun another battle with cancer.

Keith Ashfield has written an open letter to his constituents to say that he has started treatments following a recurrence of Hodgkin lymphoma.

In June 2013, Ashfield asked the prime minister to excuse him from his cabinet role as fisheries minister to focus on treatment and recovery after he was first diagnosed with the disease.

Ashfield says he was fully healed and felt healthy when he returned to Ottawa last winter, but began feeling ill again last month.

He says he will remain in Fredericton while undergoing treatment so he can continue work in the riding and spend more time with his family.

Ashfield says he hopes to encourage people who are facing cancer to seek help and feel comfortable discussing their challenges.

He was first elected as the MP for Fredericton in 2008.

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