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Doctors On Gov. Hogan's Cancer Announcement

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Less than six months after being sworn in as Maryland's governor, Larry Hogan announces he is suffering from an aggressive, stage III cancer.

Many are wondering--how serious is the governor's diagnosis?

Christie Ileto explains how tough a fight he's facing with this particular kind of cancer.

Gov. Hogan was diagnosed with the most common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. One in fifty people will be diagnosed at some point in their lifetime, and he just became part of that statistic.

It came with no warning--until it was aggressive, stage III non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

"I was shaving and I felt a big lump in my neck," the governor said.

Dozens of tumorous lymph nodes, which make up our immune system, were discovered throughout his body.

"If it's not treated, it becomes life threatening very quickly," said Dr. Kevin Cullen, University of Maryland Medical Center.

More than 71,000 people will be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma this year. Seventy percent of patients are still alive five years after diagnosis.

Ileto: "Is it common for the cancer to be that far along and for you to have no idea?"

Dr. Cullen: "For this disease, it's very common. And again, typically people don't know that they have the disease until they feel a lump somewhere."

When you hear the words "aggressive" and "stage III," it can sound ominous. But, in fact, doctors say this type of cancer is one of the most treatable.

"It was a miracle. It has to be," said Lou Kordek. "Because 15 years later, he's still alive."

Diagnosed with the same cancer at age 39, Kordek's son, Ray, beat the odds after six months of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant.

"His immune system for about the first couple of months was nil," said Kordek. "He went through hell, but his attitude was very positive."

A fighting spirit Gov. Hogan, at age 59, will need as he faces his toughest battle yet.

The governor now faces weeks of chemotherapy.

Stay with WJZ for complete coverage of Governor Hogan's cancer diagnosis, his treatment, his prognosis and how he plans to continue leading the state of Maryland.

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