Sen. Al Melvin, a Tucson Republican, disclosed Nov. 9 that he has been undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Melvin said the disease is not interfering with his work and he expects a full recovery. Melvin, in fact, has been holding hearings on energy and water during the past several weeks. He said he was lucky it was detected early.
The Republican said he made the announcement because the treatment will cause hair loss and he wanted people to know the reason why.
In a media statement, Melvin made light of the situation.
“I don’t have a great deal of hair, so those that I do have are like members of my family,” he noted in the
statement. “I’ve known them for so long and I’ll be sad to see them go, particularly with winter approaching.”
He added: “According to the National Cancer Institute, three of the risk factors for developing (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) are being ‘older, male or white,’ so I guess my goose was cooked from the get-go!”
Melvin added that he plans to seek advice from Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who is bald, about maintaining and polishing his new head.
Melvin said there are two types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One slowly develops and is nearly impossible to eliminate; the other grows faster but is curable. He has the second type, he said.
Melvin said he does not anticipate any problems. His doctors said he should be fine during and after the treatment.
The freshman lawmaker was elected to the Senate in 2008. He is vice-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and co-chair of an ad hoc committee on energy and water.