By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
PLAINS, GA (ANS – August 12, 2015) — Former President Jimmy Carter – the first candidate to run for president proclaiming himself a born-again Christian — says he has cancer and it has spread, although he did not reveal the kind of cancer he has.
Carter, 90, had a mass removed from his liver Monday, according to an NBC news story.
“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. A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week,” Carter said in a statement released to the media.
James Earl Carter, Jr. was 39th president of the United States, from 1977 to 1981. He has been one of the most active ex-presidents, working with groups such as Habitat for Humanity and founding the nonprofit Carter Center, and teaching Sunday school and serving as a deacon at the Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.
Carter’s family has a history of pancreatic cancer. His father, both his sisters and his brother died of pancreatic cancer and his mother had pancreatic cancer as well, according to NBC News.
In 2007, Carter revealed that he had CT scans twice a year and later MRIs to look for tumors in his pancreas, according to the New York Times.
In March, Carter left Guyana earlier than originally planned. He had been monitoring elections there, but said he felt ill.
Pancreatic cancer will often migrate to other organs, including the liver. It is also possible the cancer began in the liver and spread to surrounding organs. Carter did not provide any information about the type of cancer he has or how far it has spread.
However, when cancer spreads from one organ, it is usually considered Stage IV cancer — the most advanced stage. Stage IV cancer is normally fatal although it can be treated, depending on the type.
Dr. Robert Mayer, a gastrointestinal cancer specialist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, says that at age 90, 90, Jimmy Carter is unlikely to tolerate much treatment, according to NBC News.
There are many different possible cancers that Carter could have, Mayer said. “This is a 90-year-old gentleman with apparent widespread disease. The goals of treatment would be his comfort.”
“I really don’t know from paucity of information which of these would be the situation for President Carter. I don’t know what his symptoms were. I don’t know what led to surgery on his liver,” Mayer told NBC News.
Mayer says a 90-year-old patient cannot tolerate the same treatment that could buy years of life for cancer patients in their 60s or 70s.
Many words of encouragement were sent to the former president, including one from President Barack Obama.
“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,” Obama’s statement read.
“Jimmy, you’re as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you.”
Photo caption: Jimmy Carter.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is senior correspondent for the ASSIST News Service and also the founder of www.Godreports.com , a website that shares stories, testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions.
** You may republish this and any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)