Quiz: Which Presidential Candidates Had Health Issues?

Christine Wiebe; Albert B. Lowenfels, MD


October 10, 2016

Paul Tsongas, a Massachusetts senator, ran as a Democratic candidate in the 1992 presidential campaign. In 1983, while a member of the Senate, Tsongas developed a groin lump, eventually diagnosed as a lymphoma for which he received his first bone marrow transplant.[7] He retired from the Senate, but after an apparent 5-year cancer-free interval, he decided to run for President against George H. W. Bush, promoting the fact that he was a cancer survivor. (Sen. Frank Church of Idaho also had survived cancer when he ran for President in 1976, but his campaign did not highlight that aspect of his life.)

Bill Clinton eventually won the 1992 Democratic nomination, which may have been fortunate because in January 1993, Tsongas became ill again with his original cancer. At the time of his campaign, his cancer had already recurred, although this information was not publicized. His illness raised public interest in the full disclosure of our political leaders' health.

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