Specter fighting cancer again

Former senator's condition unknown

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Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, 82, reported Tuesday that he is again fighting cancer, but he said nothing about his condition.

Mr. Specter, the longest-serving senator in Pennsylvania history, from 1981 through 2010, had kept his illness private until word of it began to leak into the news Monday night.

He issued a statement at mid-morning, saying: "I'm battling cancer. It's another battle I intend to win. I'm grateful for all the well wishes I've received. I'm looking forward to getting back to work, to the comedy stage, to the squash court, and to the ballpark."

Politco.com, a Washington-politics website, quoted a source as saying that a tumor had been found in Mr. Specter's stomach after he complained of having trouble breathing two months ago. The source told Politico that the cancer was serious and Mr. Specter was hospitalized.

Mr. Specter's family declined comment beyond the senator's statement, and even close friends said they were pretty much in the dark on how the five-term senator is doing.

Mr. Specter, a fitness fanatic, has had repeated mortality scares. He had radiation treatments in 1996 -- for an undisclosed ailment -- and a heart bypass operation in 1998. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a lymphatic cancer, in 2005. He beat that, but the disease returned in April 2008.

Mr. Specter, who does dry stand-up comedy as a hobby and who regularly follows Philadelphia sports teams, completed his third book-length memoir this year.

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