Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan diagnosed with cancer

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that he has been diagnosed with cancer that affects the lymph nodes.

At a Monday afternoon news conference with family and cabinet members by his side, Hogan said he has a very advanced and very aggressive case of B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and the cancer may be at least Stage 3 or Stage 4 of the disease.

He said he was diagnosed a couple of days ago and has learned more about his health over the last ten days since coming back from his trade mission trip to Asia.

"The good news is that I've learned although this cancer I have is a very aggressive one and it's spread very rapidly, it's also one that responds aggressively to chemotherapy treatment," said Hogan. "There's a very strong chance of success -- not only a strong chance of survival, but a strong chance of beating it altogether and getting rid of the cancer."

He said different tests showed that the cancer has spread into his neck, chest and abdomen areas. He said he hasn't encountered many symptoms, but he did notice a golf-ball sized lump in his neck as well as pain in his back, which turned out to be a tumor pressing against his spinal column.

Hogan will continue his work in office as governor and said, "This latest challenge will require my attention and focus while balancing the demands of being the best public servant I can be."

He will be receiving multiple treatments of aggressive chemotherapy over the next few months and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford will help fill in for Hogan for any meetings he will miss during treatment.

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 Hogan'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 fulltime jobs," he said. "The aim is cure."

Dr. Catherine Broome at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, agreed.

"Therapy has come a long way in the last 15 years or so. We achieve remission in this disease over 70 percent of the time," and at least half of patients survive at least five years, she said.

Hogan is 59 years old. He was sworn into office in January after defeating former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

Hogan jokingly said, "The best news is that my odds of getting through this and beating this are much, much better than the odds I had of beating Anthony Brown to become the 62nd governor of Maryland."

Information used from The Associated Press in this report.