PHILADELPHIA -- Former Sen. Arlen Specter confirmed Tuesday that he is fighting cancer again, calling the latest diagnosis "another battle I intend to win."

The 82-year-old Specter issued a brief statement through his Philadelphia office. A family spokesman reached by The Associated Press declined to comment on the type of cancer or confirm news reports that he had been hospitalized.

Specter, who was Pennsylvania's longest-serving senator, has overcome two bouts with Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system, since 2005. He also has survived a brain tumor and cardiac arrest after bypass surgery.

In his statement, he said: "I'm battling cancer. It's another battle I intend to win. I'm grateful for all the well wishes I've received. I'm looking forward to getting back to work, to the comedy stage, to the squash court and to the ballpark."

In retirement, among other activities, Specter occasionally performed standup comedy at clubs in Philadelphia and New York. He played squash nearly every day into his mid-70s.

His 30-year career ended after he switched from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. He lost the Democratic primary in 2010, and Pennsylvania voters elected conservative Republican Pat Toomey, then a congressman, to replace him.

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