ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that he has been diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes, calling it “very advanced and very aggressive.” Hogan vowed to continue to work, though he acknowledged that he will miss some days while he undergoes intensive chemotherapy treatments. Here are five things to know about Hogan’s announcement:
Hogan said he’s been diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer of the lymph nodes. According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 71,850 new cases of this type of cancer have been diagnosed in the United States in 2015 so far. This cancer is one of the most common types, accounting for roughly 4 percent of all cancer cases.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma starts in the lymphatic system. It causes tumors to develop in the lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system and found inside lymph nodes — small organs situated throughout the body. Hogan said the cancer has spread to multiple parts of his body. He said he first noticed it when he felt a big lump on his neck while shaving, before leaving on a trade trip to Asia late last month.
Hogan said he has had few symptoms, except tumors and some back pain stemming from a tumor pressing against his spine.
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.
During the news conference, an upbeat Hogan joked that he’ll likely lose his “beautiful gray locks” and shed a few pounds as a side-effect of the chemotherapy.
Although the treatments themselves are very strong, it is unlikely “that he won’t be able to continue to manage most, if not all, of his responsibilities,” according to Dr. Kevin Cullen, Director of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, adding that the survival rate for non-Hodgkin lymphoma is roughly 70 percent.
HOGAN’S POLITICAL FUTURE
Hogan, a Republican, won the governorship in November in a heavily Democratic state, using public campaign financing against a much better funded Democratic opponent. Hogan had never held elected office.
He has ambitiously called for changing the state’s direction by lowering taxes and making Maryland more business friendly.
He took the oath of office on the Bible that had been used in the 1950s by then-Gov. Theodore McKeldin, the last Republican governor in Maryland to serve two terms.
BOYD’S GOT HIS BACK
While Hogan said he plans to keep working hard as governor, he also said Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will take on a greater work load.
“He’s going to fill in more at the Board of Public Works,” Hogan said. “He’s going to have to fill in for me on some other meetings, as will our entire cabinet. They’re going to step up and do more things and fill in when I can’t be there.”
The two men served together in former Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s administration. Hogan said Rutherford already has taken on a big role as lieutenant governor.
“Boyd has my back,” Hogan said Monday. “There’s no question about that.”
ILL IN OFFICE
Hogan is not the first Maryland governor to be diagnosed with cancer and undergo treatment while in office. In 2002, then-Gov. Parris Glendening, who was elected governor in 1995, underwent an hourslong surgical procedure to have a malignant melanoma removed from his scalp at Johns Hopkins Hospital. But unlike Glendening, who was diagnosed with just 11 months left in his second gubernatorial term, Hogan has been in office just five months.
Follow WNEW on Twitter
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)