Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Battles Cancer

Maryland Gov., Larry Hogan (C) departs after Sunday services at Saint Peter Clavers Catholic Church after he called for a Day of Prayer following a week of unrest In Baltimore City following the death of Freddie Gray.


According to Fox News, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he's "feeling pretty strong," about a week after finishing chemotherapy. He completed his sixth week of chemotherapy. He says he's not 100 percent, but he feels great. Hogan was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in June of 2015. Over the next four months, he had 30 days of 24-hour chemotherapy, three surgeries and four spinal taps.

About Governor Larry Hogan

A solidly blue state, with Democratic strongholds in Montgomery County, Prince Georges County and the City of Baltimore, one would not expect Maryland to have a Republican Governor.

Self-described as an underdog who likes a challenge, Republican Larry Hogan pulled off a stunning victory last November in Maryland to become the state’s second only GOP governor in history, since 1969. Hogan also gained national media attention in his dealings with the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, when he declared a state of emergency in Baltimore after unrest related to the fatal injury of Freddie Gray. He moved his base of operations to the city from Annapolis while the emergency was in effect.

Playing off his renown for beating the odds, Hogan gave an emotional announcement in which he disclosed that he has been diagnosed with an aggressive stage 3 B-cell, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, or NHL.

He described it as a challenge that would require him to be a fighter and an underdog, once again.

About Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a blood cancer that affects the lymphocytes, a kind of white blood cell. The two main kinds of lymphoma are Hodgkin’s lymphoma and NHL. The rate of some types of lymphoma have been increasing, and this trend is predicted to continue.

This appears to be the case NHL and some of its subtypes. Overall, an American's lifetime risk of getting NHL is currently estimated to be about 1 in 50. NHL numbers have increased slightly over the last 30 years.

According to the American Cancer Society, the risk of developing NHL increases throughout life, and “…the aging of the American population is likely to lead to an increase in NHL cases during the coming years.”

Governor Hogan’s Announcement

Just a few weeks ago, Hogan was traveling on a trade mission in Asia. Since then, he has learned his cancer is aggressive and rapidly growing. He also learned his cancer is very responsive to chemotherapy.

Hogan continued to joke about the odds for success with the audience during his announcement, saying, “There is a very strong chance of survival. The best news is that my odds of getting through, and beating this, are much, much better than the odds I had of beating Anthony Brown to become the 62nd Governor of Maryland.”

He continued, “The odds are better than finally doing away with the rain tax mandate,” to which Hogan's audience responded with cheers and applause. Back story: the rain tax mandate refers to a tax that Maryland imposed on people who had “impervious surfaces,” including driveways and rooftops, under Hogan’s predecessor, Martin O’Malley.

Hogan made the rain tax a symbol of what he viewed as the tax-and-spend policies of his predecessor, Martin O’Malley, during the 2014 election. With strong bipartisan support under Hogan, the Maryland Senate voted to allow jurisdictions to opt out of this rain tax.

Support for Hogan on social media began to swell with his announcement. His predecessor, former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley also joined in to wish Hogan well.

Hogan’s B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Gov. Hogan has the most common kind of lymphoma -- NHL. Most cases of NHL, about 90 percent, are of B-cell origin, but there are many subtypes; some experts say there are more than 60 different types of B-cell malignancies, if you count the rare ones.

There were no obvious symptoms, and Hogan first noticed a lump in his neck while shaving. In retrospect, he had some symptoms in his back and chest that were related to his malignancy, he noted. However, it is not uncommon for this kind of cancer to present with simply a painless lump.

The 59-year-old governor is expected to undergo a six-month course of therapy with both chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs. This kind of treatment often causes fatigue, cause hair loss and increased risk of infection.

The plan is to stay in office. Hogan might not be able to work full time, although some people are able to keep up with their schedules.