Former Senator Arlen Specter Dies

Arlen Specter dies of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma complications

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The Senator who served the state of Pennsylvania for longer than anyone in history – Arlen Specter – has lost his years-long battle with cancer. He died of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in his Philadelphia home this morning.

Specter was 82.

This wasn’t his first bout with cancer. In the past 20 years, he had successfully beaten a brain tumor.

Then he was later diagnosed with NHL, a cancer of the lymphatic system that can appear in anywhere in the body.

In addition, Specter survived a heart attack following bypass surgery.

Specter announced in August of this year he was battling cancer.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is diagnosed in about 70,000 Americans every year, and nearly 19,000 die from the disease.

NHL is actually a term that refers to a number of types of cancer of the lymphatic system.

This means the same disease can have different symptoms and signs and treatments. It can start anywhere in the body, but most often appears first in the lymph nodes, liver, spleen or bone marrow.

The stomach, intestines, thyroid, brain and skin can also be affected, as can any part of the body.

Senator Specter was elected to the Senate in 1980 after gaining national prominence as a member of the Warren Commission, which was responsible for concluding that President John Kennedy was killed by a single bullet.

After serving as a Republican from the mid 60s, Specter switched his party affiliation in 2009.

Senator Specter will be remembered as something of a wild card, as his views were hard to predict.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 14, 2012
Last Updated:
December 5, 2012