Former President Jimmy Carter, 90, revealed August 3 that he had a small mass removed from his liver. As the 39th president, Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford in 1976 and is the longest living retired president in U.S. history.
On Wednesday, Carter confirmed he has cancer, which has now spread to other parts of his body in a statement released by the Carter Center in Atlanta.
“Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body. I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare.”
It’s unclear where Carter’s cancer originated — while it may have spread from Carter’s liver, the liver isn’t usually where the cancer originates. Lung, colon, prostate, and pancreatic cancer are several types of the disease that can spread to the liver.
In his recent memoir, A Full Life, Jimmy Carter disclosed his family has a history of pancreatic cancer. Carter’s father, brother, and two sisters all died from the disease, and that family history has Carter’s doctors at Emory “concerned.”
“The National Institutes of Health began to check all members of our family regularly, and my last remaining sibling, Gloria, sixty-four, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died in 1990. There was no record of another American family having lost four members to this disease, and since that time I have had regular X-rays, CAT scans, or blood analyses, with hope of early detection if I develop the same symptoms.”
The type of treatment Jimmy Carter will undergo also has not been released, but more information could become available next week. Carter’s age doesn’t necessarily mean his cancer treatment won’t be successful. A specialist on treating cancer in the elderly in Tampa, Dr. Lodovico Balducci, said it depends more on the patient’s “biological” age versus actual age in years.
In the decades since Jimmy Carter left the presidential office, he’s remained very active with traveling around the world to support humanitarian efforts in areas such as health care and democracy. Jimmy Carter’s wife, Rosalynn, often travels with him, and they both have become symbols of Habitat for Humanity with their work for the organization.
On social media, many wishes were left for the former president to have a swift recovery. President Obama released a statement about Jimmy Carter’s cancer diagnosis.
“Michelle and I send our best wishes to President Carter for a fast and full recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rosalynn and the entire Carter family as they face this challenge with the same grace and determination that they have shown so many times before. Jimmy, you’re as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you.”
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