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Specter Plans to Seek Re-election in 2010

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) plans to continue his Senatorial duties and seek re-election in 2010, despite his second bout with Hodgkin’s disease.

“This is another bump in the road. I’ve had a lot of bumps,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker told reporters at midday Wednesday.

Specter announced Tuesday night that he had been diagnosed with a recurrence of Hodgkin’s disease, a type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes, after routine testing.

He will undergo 12 weeks of chemotherapy to treat the recurrence, which was described as significantly less serious than his previous bout with the disease in 2005, when he underwent six months of chemotherapy.

Specter says he will receive treatment once a week for the next three months starting on April 25.

As the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, the diagnosis comes at a time when Specter should play a key role in advancing President Bush’s judicial nominees that have been stalled by Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) brokered a deal to move some of those nominees on Tuesday night.

Specter said the recurrence would not prove to be a disruption, particularly because he does not have the responsibility of setting the Judiciary Committee’s schedule, but plans to be an active member anyhow.

The 78-year-old Senator cited his numerous periods of illness, including a brain tumor, cardiac arrest and cancer, to show his endurance and vigor to maintain an active schedule. He insisted that he would not distracted by his ailment.

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

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 had been feeling healthy.

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