Maryland Governor Hogan says he has cancer of lymph nodes
ANNAPOLIS — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Jr. said Monday that he has “very advanced” and “very aggressive” cancer of the lymph nodes, but he will fight for a full recovery and continue to work as the state's chief elected official.
Hogan spoke candidly, choking up at times while managing to keep a sense of humor as family, friends and his staff filled the governor's reception room for the announcement.
The governor, who has been in office for five months, said the cancer is B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
“Over the coming months, I'll be receiving multiple very aggressive chemotherapy treatments,” Hogan said. “Most likely, I'm going to lose my hair. You won't have these beautiful gray locks. I may trim down a little bit, but I won't stop working to change Maryland for the better.”
He said it may be Stage 4, or at least a very advanced Stage 3.
The Republican, who was elected in a big upset in November in a heavily Democratic state, said that he had noticed a painless lump along his jaw this month. He felt some back pain, which, he said, was caused by a tumor pressing on his spinal column.
Hogan said his doctors have told him that he has a good chance of beating the disease.
Dr. Richard Fisher, a lymphoma specialist and president of Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, said Hogan's cancer is the most common form of lymphoma and that most cases are diagnosed in later stages, as the governor's was.
Treatment involves intravenous combination chemotherapy plus the immune therapy drug Rituxan, usually six cycles, every three weeks, as an outpatient. The main side effects are hair loss, possibly fever and low white blood cell counts, which often can be prevented with other medicines.
“Patients usually miss only a day or two of work every time they're treated, and they're usually able to continue their full-time jobs,” he said. “The aim is cure.”
Hogan said he has been feeling good and has had few symptoms, but he has tumors, a low appetite and some pain.
He said he will miss some meetings while he undergoes chemotherapy but won't stop working, like thousands of other Americans who undergo cancer treatment and stay on their jobs.
“I'm still going to be constantly involved” in running the state, Hogan said, adding that Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will fill in more for him.
“Boyd has my back,” he said.