NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee governor Bill Lee announced Friday his wife, first lady Maria Lee, has cancer.
“Maria and I have learned that she has lymphoma and will begin treatment immediately. While this news is unexpected, her prognosis is good and it is treatable. Maria and I deeply appreciate prayers for healing. We are hopeful and will share more in the days ahead.”
Lymphoma is a cancer that affects the germ-fighting network in your body.
“The malignant transformation happens in the lymph node,” ETSU Health’s Dr. Kanishka Chakraborty said. “But many times it can involve bone marrow and the spleen, also.”
Dr. Chakraborty treats one of the highest volumes of lymphoma patients in East Tennessee.
“Lymphoma can cause what we call, traditionally, night sweat. Weight loss can happen because of the appetite being low,” he said. “Sometimes even the patient can himself or herself feel the lymph nodes getting enlarged.”
But as the governor’s office wrote, the outlook is favorable.
“Although we don’t have the cure to all cancers, lymphomas are one of those cancers where science has made great advancements and we can cure those cancers,” Dr. Chakraborty said. “Many patients, along with their cancer teams, will win those battles.”
The Lees were married in 2008. Gov. Lee’s first wife died in a horseback riding accident in 2000, after which he took time off from his company to raise their four children.