Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Maryland governor's lymphoma treatable for older people only when there is a good social support network

Republican governor Larry Hogan of Maryland has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkins B-cell lymphoma at age 59.  This was an aggressive type. He says he noticed a golf-ball-sized lump on his neck shaving in early June.  The development of tumor seems to be pretty sudden, and the quantity of tumors found by MRI’s was shocking.  Brian Witte of the Associated Press has a story here. Surprisingly, he had few symptoms in how he felt.
He expects a few days of intense chemotherapy and then 18 weeks of intermittent treatment and to keep working. He says he was told the rebound from side effects will be great. His chances for complete remission are said to be good.
Older people can get many non-Hodgkins lymphomas.  Many are slow growing, as is multiple myeloma.  Some may have viral causes.  Agreeing to aggressive treatment when one doesn’t have many symptoms is problematic unless one has a strong social support network.  Childless and never married or divorced older adults may have weak support networks and little incentive to go through this when they don’t have symptoms yet.


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