Former US president Jimmy Carter says cancer has spread

Diagnosis of cancer that has spread was revealed by recent liver surgery

Former US President Jimmy Carter says he has cancer but won't make a more complete public statement until the 'facts are known.' Video: Reuters

 

Former US President Jimmy Carter announced on Wednesday that he had been given a diagnosis of cancer that had spread to other parts of his body after being revealed by recent liver surgery.

“I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment,” Mr Carter (90) said in a statement.

“A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week.”

The announcement, which revealed few details about Mr Carter’s condition, came nine days after doctors at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta performed an elective procedure that removed “a small mass” from his liver.

At the time, the former president’s office said that “the prognosis is excellent for a full recovery.”

Mr Carter, who left the White House in 1981 and has enjoyed the longest post-presidency in US history, has an extensive family history of cancer. His father and three siblings all died of pancreatic cancer, a disease that was also found in his mother.

Mr Carter gave no indication Wednesday whether his pancreas had been affected, and his spokeswoman declined to elaborate beyond the former president’s three-sentence statement.

Mr Carter has been among the most active figures in American public life, making him a particularly accessible former president. He has continued to teach Sunday school at a Baptist church in Plains, Georgia, and he held annual meetings for freshman students at Emory, where he has been a faculty member for decades.

Last month, he released a new memoir.

Mr Carter’s health has been the subject of periodic speculation, including in May, when he cut short a visit to Guyana because, according to his office, he was “not feeling well.” (He later said he had suffered “a bad cold.”)

In a phone call Wednesday, President Barack Obama wished Mr Carter a quick recovery, the White House said.

“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,” the president said in a statement. “Jimmy, you’re as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you.”

New York Times