Former President Ronald Reagan’s daughter Maureen is hospitalized and undergoing treatment for cancer that has spread since she was diagnosed with melanoma four years ago.
Surgeons discovered a golf ball-sized malignant tumor from her pelvis and removed all the lymph nodes between her right knee and groin in November, doctors said today.
Reagan, daughter of the former president and actress Jane Wyman, turned 60 last Thursday and is a national spokeswoman and board member of the Chicago-based Alzheimer’s Association. Her father has Alzheimer’s disease.
She entered the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John’s Health Center Dec. 11 to begin the aggressive cancer-fighting treatments, said Danny Chun, a spokesman for the Alzheimer’s Association.
Her husband, Dennis Revell, was with her at the hospital.
“While her progress is still guarded, she is a surprisingly strong and resilient individual and has tolerated the therapy very well,” said Dr. Steven O’Day, the institute’s director of medical oncology.
“We are extremely pleased with her progress and the apparent impact the treatment has already had on her melanoma.”
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is the fastest growing cancer in the United States. About 8,000 Americans die from it every year, and almost 40,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.
There was no immediate reaction from Reagan’s wife, Nancy, spokeswoman Joanne Drake said. Wyman could not be reached for comment.
Maureen Reagan, an outspoken feminist, disagreed with the then-president on abortion and the Equal Rights Amendment.
She made an unsuccessful bid in California for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in 1982 and for the House nomination in 1992. She was co-chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1987-89.
She was diagnosed with melanoma in December 1996, when a large, ulcerated, mole-like growth was found on her leg. The disease appeared to be in remission after treatments were completed in March 1998.
In October, it was discovered that the disease had invaded several of her lymph nodes.