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Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2007

Possible presidential candidate discloses cancer

April 12, 2007

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— Potential presidential candidate Fred Thompson, known to millions of "Law & Order" viewers as a gruff district attorney, revealed on Wednesday that he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer, nearly three years ago.

Thompson, 64, said he is in remission with no illness or symptoms. The Tennessee Republican was prompted to make the disclosure on the Fox News Channel and ABC Radio because he is thinking about running for president.

"I know it's not a big deal, as far as my health is concerned, as much as a person can know about things like that," Thompson said.

"But other people have the right to look at it and weigh in, and I have a need to factor that into my decision in terms of the reaction that I get about it," he said.

Thompson's physician said he encourages his patients to live a normal existence that would even include a bid for the White House.

"They can lead a normal life. They can travel. They can work. They can possibly be president of the United States," Dr. Bruce Cheson, hematology chief at Georgetown University Hospital, told reporters at an afternoon news conference.

Thompson, who plays district attorney Arthur Branch on NBC's long-running drama "Law and Order," was diagnosed after a doctor found "a little bump in my neck" during a routine physical about 2 1/2 years ago, he said.

The bump, located under his left jaw, turned out to be an indolent form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, one that tends to respond well to treatment, he said.

Lymphoma is an immune-system cancer that strikes more than 71,000 people, killing more than 19,000 each year in the United States. Overall, the five-year survival rate for the non-Hodgkin's group of lymphomas is 63 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

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