Fred Thompson Has Cancer; Prognosis Good

Senator Thompson has the kind of lymphoma that is treatable and shouldn’t affect his life span:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Fred Thompson, the potential presidential candidate better known as television’s gruff “Law & Order” district attorney, said Wednesday he was diagnosed with lymphoma more than two years ago but the cancer shouldn’t affect his life expectancy.

In an interview with Fox News Channel’s Neil Cavuto, the former Tennessee senator, 64, said a doctor conducting a physical in 2004 found a bump on his neck, which turned out to be non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He said the disease is in remission with no illness or symptoms, and it won’t affect his decision about whether to seek the Republican nomination.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I wasn’t satisfied in my own mind as to the nature of it and the fact that not only will I have an average lifespan but in the meantime I will not be affected in anyway by it,” Thompson said. “Now of course nobody knows the future but that has been in the history for almost three years now in terms of no symptoms and no sickness.”‘

Thompson’s physician, Dr. Bruce Cheson, hematology chief at Georgetown University Hospital, said the prognosis is good.

“Some lymphomas are very aggressive, but people with slow-growing types, like Senator Thompson’s, more often die from natural causes associated with old age, rather than from the disease,” Cheson said in a statement.

The question is, if he runs will the American people be scared off by his having cancer, even the non aggressive kind? Maybe, maybe not. Cancer is a disease that affects a lot of people all over the world, and with the medical advancements that we have today, more and more people are either beating it outright or are managing it well enough that they can go on living their lives.

Senator Thompson has written a candid post about his cancer at Red State. A man who doesn’t plan on running for president doesn’t go into such detail about such personal matters. This is part of what he wrote:

I have had no illness from it, or even any symptoms. My life expectancy should not be affected. I am in remission, and it is very treatable with drugs if treatment is needed in the future–and with no debilitating side effects.

I am one of the lucky ones. There are many lucky ones today. And for all of our diversity, we share one thing in common–a deep appreciation for the fact that we live in the United States of America and have the best medicine and the best doctors the world has even known.

Update: Allahpundit also sees this announcement as a sign that he’s running.

Update II: Captain Ed has some inside information about the senator’s health and about the likelihood that he is getting closer to declaring his candidacy:

I’ve made a few calls on my lunch break, and here’s the scoop. Fred’s had this for almost three years now, and he’s not missed any work or slowed down at all during that time. He and his wife had a child during this period, which gives an indication that he has plenty of stamina; after all, shooting schedules for weekly television programs are not known to be kind to cast and crew.

Why is he announcing this now? Word is that he wants to make sure that his supporters feel comfortable with the issue before proceeding, and he’s interested in the commentary. He’s a straight shooter and he didn’t want this to be a surprise during a campaign — he’s laying his cards on the table. For Fred supporters, that thought process should be very encouraging.

I agree; it is encouraging.

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