Jimmy Carter's Cancer Has Spread To His Brain & He'll Begin Radiation Treatment Right Away

Eight days after announcing that he had cancer, former President Jimmy Carter offered more details about his cancer diagnosis Thursday morning, revealing that Carter has melanoma tumors in his brain. Carter answered questions about the details of his cancer at a press conference on Thursday morning at The Carter Center in Atlanta, seeming upbeat as he shared with reporters that a tumor found on his liver — about one-tenth of the size of his liver, Carter said — led to the discovery of spots of melanoma on his brain. The 90-year-old former president first revealed he had cancer on Aug. 12 in a written statement, in which he announced that the cancer, discovered during recent liver surgery, had already spread to other parts of his body.

The statement also detailed his plans to undergo treatment at Emory Healthcare; later on Thursday, Carter said, he would begin radiation treatment. "I'm going to cut back fairly dramatically on my obligations," Carter noted on Thursday morning. "The rest of my plans will be determined by my consultations with my doctors," he added before assuring that the Carter Center will continue to run smoothly at the helm of his grandson, Jason.

"[The cancer is] likely to show up other places in my body as the scans detect it in the future," Carter said.

Despite the gravity of the situation, the former president remained remarkably positive throughout the conference. In answering multiple questions, he repeated one message: he is "at ease." Instead of giving into "despair or anger," he said, Carter marveled at the full life he's had and said he's "prepared for anything that comes." He told reporters, "I'm looking forward to a new adventure."

When reporters asked what the greatest thing he's done in his life was, he answered, "Marrying Rosa." As for what he'd love to see happen in the world before he died? Carter said, "Peace for Israel and its neighbors."

Carter's cancer was first discovered during elective liver surgery on Aug. 3, when doctors at Emory removed a "small mass." At the time, his health appeared fine, and The Carter Center even issued a statement saying "the prognosis is excellent for a full recovery." However, just over a week later, Carter issued another statement revealing that something more serious was discovered during the operation.

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.
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The discovery of cancer was most likely not surprising for Carter. Cancer has been a prevalent curse in Carter's family — his father, brother, and two sisters all sadly died of pancreatic cancer while his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which then spread to her pancreas. Given how common cancer has been in the family, it's possible that the Carters share a gene that makes them more susceptible to developing cancer. However, the likelihood of getting cancer also increases drastically later in life.

Here's hoping Carter's continued treatment will be smooth and lead to a swift recovery.

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