Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter shocked the world when he revealed he had melanoma earlier this year, but a new update to his condition offers some positivity to the situation — Jimmy has not developed any new tumors since his announcement.
The Carter Center, Jimmy and his wife Rosalynn’s human rights organization, released a brief statement on Tuesday that confirmed that he had responded well to treatment. His cancer does not appear to have spread.
“President Carter has received good news from his Winship Cancer Institute doctors. They tell him that recent tests have shown there is no evidence of new malignancy, and his original problem is responding well to treatment. Further tests will continue.”
Jimmy first announced his cancer diagnosis in mid-August. Carter told the public that he would be undergoing a series of four scheduled treatments. His organization later revealed that they would be using the drug pembrolizumab every three weeks. Jimmy also walked the public through his cancer diagnosis, noting that it was not initially known that it had spread to his brain.
“They had a very suspicious then and now that the melanoma started somewhere else on my body and then spread to the liver. At first, I felt that it was confined to my liver and that the operation had completely removed it… and then that same afternoon we did an MRI of my head and neck and it pulled up that it was already in four places in my brain.”
Despite the negative update to his cancer, Carter told the journalists present at the conference that he was not especially shaken by the news. Jimmy felt that even if his life was over, he was happy with what he had been able to accomplish.
“I just thought I had a few weeks left, but I was surprisingly at ease. You know, I’ve had a wonderful life, I’ve had thousands of friends, and I’ve had an exciting and adventurous, gratifying existence.”
Since then, Jimmy has given the public several positive updates. Earlier this month, Carter was seen building houses in Memphis with Habitat for Humanity. Jimmy had originally planned to spend the time in Nepal doing similar work, but could not because of civil unrest there, reported Chicago Tribune.
“We haven’t cut back on my schedule yet. I know it’s going to come, particularly if my cancer progresses, but we don’t yet know what the result will be from the treatments… I’ve reacted well to the treatments. I haven’t been uncomfortable or ill after the treatments were over. So that part of it has been a relief to me and I think to the doctors. But the final result of how well the treatments are combating or controlling the cancer, we don’t know yet.”
Elected in 1977, Carter was the 39th President of the United States. Despite only serving one term, Jimmy has been closely involved in politics since leaving office in 1981, particularly in the international relations and human rights arenas. The Carter presidency is perhaps best remembered for his negotiating of the Camp David Peace Accords, which struck a historic cease fire agreement between Egypt and Israel.
Jimmy Carter noted that he’d received phone calls from several former U.S. president who he updated the public about his cancer diagnosis. Jimmy has also been a notable critic of the presidents who followed him. Most recently, Carter has spoken out about Barack Obama’s use of the drone program.
[Image via Helen H. Richardson/Getty Images]