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Paul Allen
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen sits in on an interview with GeekWire in 2017. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Nine years after he underwent treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a potentially fatal but treatable form of cancer, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says the disease has returned.

On Twitter and in a blog post, the 65-year-old billionaire investor, philanthropist and self-described “Idea Man” says he and his physicians are optimistic about his chances. Allen intends to stay involved with his Vulcan Inc. holding company and the research institutes that he’s founded, as well as the sports teams that he owns, the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, a disease-fighting network that parallels the bloodstream. Tumors develop from lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell. It’s called “non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma” to differentiate the condition from a different type of lymphoma known as Hodgkin’s disease.

There are several options for treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and drug treatments. The overall 10-year survival rate is 59 percent, but the rate varies depending on the cancer stage and subtype.

In 2009, Allen underwent chemotherapy for a case of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the most common subtype of the disease. Just last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved a type of CAR-T cell immunotherapy treatment known as axicabtagene ciloleucel or Yescarta to combat that condition.

Back in 1982, Allen was treated for Hodgkin’s disease, a more serious condition that was a factor behind his departure from Microsoft.

Here’s the full text of today’s posting, titled “Tackling a New Personal Challenge”:

“I learned recently that the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that I was treated for in 2009 has returned. My team of doctors has begun treatment of the disease and I plan on fighting this aggressively.

“A lot has happened in medicine since I overcame this disease in 2009. My doctors are optimistic that I will see good results from the latest therapies, as am I.

“I will continue to stay involved with Vulcan, the Allen Institutes, the Seahawks and Trail Blazers, as I have in the past. I have confidence in the leadership teams to manage their ongoing operations during my treatment.

“I am very grateful for the support I’ve received from my family and friends. And I’ve appreciated the support of everyone on the teams and in the broader community in the past, and count on that support now as I fight this challenge.

“Go Seahawks! Go Blazers!”

Vulcan and Seattle’s Cinerama Theater were among the many Allen-backed ventures returning their leader’s cheer. “We support him in this fight,” they wrote on Twitter.

Here are some of the other reactions, including tweets from Bill Gates, Microsoft’s other co-founder, as well as Microsoft’s current CEO, Satya Nadella, plus Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and defensive end Frank Clark:

Update for 11:20 a.m. PT Oct. 2: We’ve added Bill Gates’ reaction on Twitter.

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