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Republican presidential possibility Fred Thompson says he has lymphoma

Republican presidential possibility Fred Thompson says he has lymphoma

Republican Fred Thompson, the actor-politician who is considering a bid for president, said Wednesday he was diagnosed with lymphoma more than two years ago but the cancer should not affect his life expectancy.
In an interview with Fox News Channel, the former senator, 64, said doctors discovered that he had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2004. He said the disease is in remission with no illness or symptoms.
"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."
His disclosure comes just weeks after Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, disclosed that her cancer had returned. White House spokesman Tony Snow recently underwent surgery for cancer that had spread to his liver.
Cancer has touched past and present presidential candidates. John McCain carries scars after three episodes of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cance. His 2008 Republican rival, Rudy Giuliani, had prostate cancer, which also afflicted 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry and 1996 Republican nominee Bob Dole.
In 1992, Democratic primary candidate Paul Tsongas was the first presidential candidate to run as a cancer survivor, having undergone a radical bone-marrow transplant six years earlier after lymphoma forced an end to his Senate career. Tsongas later died from a complication related to the treatment for the disease's recurrence.
"I have friends in politics, some in Congress, some running for president, and others who have successfully dealt with cancer," Thompson said. "It is certainly no respecter of persons and totally non-partisan."
Starting in the late 1980s, Thompson got roles in numerous movies, including "No Way Out," "The Hunt for Red October," "Cape Fear and "In the Line of Fire" and in television series. His most prominnt current role is as a district attorney in NBC television's Law & Order.
Lymphoma is an immune-system cancer that strikes thousands every year. The vast majority have the non-Hodgkin's form of lymphoma, a term that encompasses more than 30 different subtypes of the disease.
Some of these subtypes are termed "indolent," meaning they typically respond well to treatment _ patients often go into remission for long periods, but the disease is not cured and may need to be battled back again periodically.
Survival varies widely, depending on the subtype of lymphoma. But overall, five-year survival for the non-Hodgkin's group of lymphomas is 63 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.
The former senator is an actor who has played many roles, including president of the United States, director of the CIA, an admiral and currently, a tough district attorney on NBC's "Law & Order."
Thompson has said he would consider running for president in 2008, depending on how the rest of the Republican field shakes out.
"I'm just going to wait and see what happens," Thompson told Fox last month. "I wanted to see how my colleagues who are on the campaign trail do now, what they say, what they emphasize, what they're addressing, and how successful they are in doing that, and whether or not they can carry the ball in next November."
Thompson's rise to prominence began three decades ago, when he served as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, leading to the disclosure of White House recordings that brought about the resignation of President Richard Nixon.