Specter Says He Has Suffered Hodgkin’s Relapse

Posted April 15, 2008 at 6:42pm

Senate Judiciary ranking member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) announced Tuesday that he has been diagnosed with a recurrence of Hodgkin’s disease, a form of cancer that affects the lymph system. Specter was originally diagnosed with the disease in February 2005.

Although his office said he will continue his work in the Senate and his efforts to prepare for his re-election, the diagnosis comes at a time when Specter is playing a key role in the fight between Republicans and Democrats over the Judiciary Committee’s treatment of President Bush’s judicial nominees.

According to a statement released by his office Tuesday evening, doctors have determined he is suffering from type IIIA Hodgkin’s, which is significantly less severe than the type IVB form he suffered in 2005.

Doctors discovered the cancer during a routine positron emission tomography — commonly referred to as a PET scan. According to his office, he will receive 12 weeks of chemotherapy treatment. Following his 2005 diagnosis, Specter underwent six months of chemotherapy treatment.

Dr. John Glick of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania said in the statement that Specter’s prognosis is good and that he stands an “excellent chance of again achieving a complete remission of his Hodgkin’s disease. … He is in superb physical condition, with a normal physical examination and blood work, no symptoms of disease, plays squash regularly and follows a careful diet.”

Specter said he was surprised by the findings because he has not felt the effects of the cancer and vowed to remain on the job during his treatment. “I was surprised by the PET scan findings because I have been feeling so good. I consider this just another bump on the road to a successful recovery from Hodgkin’s, from which I’ve been symptom-free for three years,” he said, adding that “I’ve beaten some tough medical problems and tough political opponents and I expect to beat this too. I look forward to getting through this treatment and continuing to serve the people of Pennsylvania.”