Fred Thompson announced yesterday that he has cancer.

The veteran actor, best known for his work on TV show Law and Order, is considering running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

In a statement, the 65-year-old said he has an indolent lymphoma which is not life-threatening.

Thompson is a former Senator from Tennessee and starred opposite Harrison Ford in The Hunt for Red October.

I have had no illness from it, or even any symptoms. My life expectancy should not be affected,” he said in a statement.

“I am in remission, and it is very treatable with drugs if treatment is needed in the future.”

He has combined entertainment work with law and politics throughout his adult life, and is considered a strong Conservative candidate in a Republican field dominated by liberals.

Even though he has yet to even throw his hat into the ring, a USA Today/Gallup last month put him in third place for the Republican nomination with 12%.

His Southern drawl and bulky frame makes him an ideal candidate for what Americans imagine the leader of the free world should look like.

The front-runners in the Republican race, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Senator John McCain, are not thought to have the conservative opinions on gay rights and abortion that appeal to the right.

He became a lawyer in 1967 and was co-chief counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in its investigation of the Watergate scandal from 1973-1974.

Mr Thomson represented Tennessee in the Senate from 1994 to 2003.

As well as his work on Law and Order, he starred in Hollywood films Days of Thunder, Die Hard 2: Die Harder and The Hunt for Red October.

He is a well-know radio host in the US.