Explorer staff report

State Sen. Al Melvin, the SaddleBrooke Republican representing District 26 in the Arizona Legislature, has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, he said in a release.

Melvin has been receiving treatment, and expects to recover fully, he said.

Melvin, who is in his first term and plans to seek re-election in a 2010 race with Democrat Cheryl Cage, made the announcement because the treatments he is receiving are expected to cause considerable hair loss, and he wanted to be sure people know the reason for it.

"I don't have a great deal of hair," said Melvin, adding "so those that I do have are like members of my family. I've known them for so long and I'll be sad to see them go, particularly with winter approaching."

Melvin said he had been lucky the detection was fairly early, allowing doctors to treat the disease in ample time, "dramatically increasing his odds of a full recovery," the release said.

"There are two types of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, one that is slow developing but which is nearly impossible to eliminate, and the other that is faster growing but that can be cured," Melvin said. "Fortunately, I have the second, so we can cure it and I can go on with my life.

"According to the National Cancer Institute, three of the risk factors for developing NHL are being 'older, male or white,' so I guess my goose was cooked from the get go."

Melvin said the disease had not interfered with his work and he did not anticipate any problems.  "I haven't been sick or had any ill effects from it, and the doctors have said that I should be fine during and after the treatments. In the meantime, I continue to work hard both at the Legislature, and in the district where we are gearing up our re-election effort."

Melvin is the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and also serves on the public safety and human services committee, and the veterans and military affairs committee. He has also been serving as the Senate co-chairman of the legislative ad hoc committee on energy and water development, which has been meeting regularly while the Legislature is out of session.

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