Jimmy Carter says he no longer needs cancer treatment

ATLANTA -- Jimmy Carter announced Sunday that he no longer needs treatment for cancer, less than seven months after revealing he had been diagnosed with melanoma that had spread to his brain.

See Full Article

Carter, 91, shared the news at one of his regular Sunday School classes at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.

Carter always starts his lessons with a brief update on his recent activities. This week, Carter told the class, he received an MRI lasting more than 2 hours.

"And then the doctors determined that I didn't need any more treatment," Carter said in a video posted by WXIA-TV. "So I'm not going to have any more treatment."

He smiled as the audience applauded.

Carter's spokeswoman Deanna Congileo said in an email that his doctors will continue to perform scans to ensure cancer cells have not returned, and Carter will "resume treatment if necessary." A spokesman for Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute, where Carter has been treated, declined to comment on Sunday, citing patient privacy.

Carter's treatment plan for the aggressive form of cancer included a round of targeted radiation at several tumors on his brain and doses of an immune-boosting drug every three weeks from August through February. The drug, Keytruda, was approved not long before Carter's announcement and helps his body seek out and destroy cancer cells.

Medical experts have called Keytruda and similar immune therapy drugs "game-changing" for patients with melanoma. But the drugs are relatively new, and doctors are still learning about how they should be used and for how long, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. He is not involved in Carter's treatment.

"Some people believe they should be continued as long as a patient is doing well, some feel the drugs should continue for a period of time and then be stopped," Lichtenfeld said. "This is clearly a (decision) based on individual evidence specific to the president and made with his doctors."

Dr. Douglas Johnson, a melanoma specialist at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center who is not treating Carter, said the FDA did not provide a specific end-date for patients who see improvement while taking the drugs. Patients who see results may want to stop but battle with fear that the cancer could return, he said.

"That has become a very difficult question," Johnson said. "We can say that patients who have stopped treatment have continued to do very well, but the drug has been around less than 10 years. Whether all patients have the same results, we don't know."

Carter made another unexpected announcement about his health at a December class, telling the audience that a recent scan of his brain detected no sign of cancer. At the time, Carter told the group that he planned to continue receiving doses of Keytruda every three weeks. He has said the drug caused few side effects.

Jill Stuckey, a Maranatha Baptist Church member, said in a phone interview that Carter's updates have become "a pattern for our church."

"President Carter comes in, tells us phenomenal news and we all applaud," Stuckey, also a close friend of the Carters, said. "We're all on pins and needles wondering how things are going, because you never know from looking at somebody."

Carter has remained active throughout his treatment, including participating in a building project with Habitat for Humanity. He also continued work at the Carter Center, the human rights organization he founded after leaving the White House, contrary to his initial plans to step back during treatment.

Tim Turnham, executive director of the Melanoma Research Foundation, said Carter's age or busy schedule may have been a factor in deciding to stop the treatment.

"When you have a drug that's working to keep cancer at bay, it's a hard decision to stop," Turnham, who is not involved with Carter's treatment, said. "It really becomes a conversation between the patient and their doctor."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Another sex assault charge laid against Ont. massage therapist

    Canada News CTV News
    WHITBY, Ont. -- Police have laid another sexual assault charge against a massage therapist from Whitby, Ont. Police originally charged 51-year-old Robert Newey earlier this month after a woman alleged that he had touched her inappropriately during an appointment in December. Source
  • 10-year-old boy drives to store, speeds away in police chase

    World News Toronto Sun
    FOSTORIA, OHIO - Ohio police say an erratic, speeding driver who led an officer on a brief pursuit turned out to be a 10-year-old boy who took his parents’ car without permission and drove 11 miles to a nearby city to shop at a convenience store. Source
  • Victim killed in Surrey, B.C. shooting was targeted: police

    Canada News CTV News
    SURREY, B.C. -- RCMP in Surrey, B.C., say the latest shooting in that city has killed one person and the attack is believed to be targeted. It happened just before 9:15 Monday night as the victim was in a vehicle on 96 Ave. Source
  • Federal court to rule on bid to block Canada-Saudi Arabia arms deal

    Canada News CBC News
    A federal court will rule today on the case of a Montreal law professor who challenged the federal government's decision to approve a $15-billion deal to sell armed military vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Daniel Turp filed for a judicial review in Federal Court, arguing the sale should be blocked due to the country's human rights violations. Source
  • Florida man stabbed dog that wouldn't stop barking: Cops

    World News Toronto Sun
    SUNRISE, FLA. - Police say a South Florida man stabbed his dog in the leg with a kitchen knife when it wouldn’t stop barking. The SunSentinel reports the dog was injured in November but Michael O’Brien wasn’t arrested until Jan. Source
  • Israel approves 2,500 West Bank settlement homes

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israel said Tuesday it approved plans to build 2,500 new settler homes in the West Bank, signalling a major ramp-up of construction just days after the swearing-in of U.S. President Donald Trump, whose election has emboldened the settlement movement. Source
  • Garland trial: Police extinguished smouldering burn barrel, found bone, tooth, glasses

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The burn barrel on the farm where the Crown believes Douglas Garland disposed of his victims was left smouldering overnight after the initial police raid, court heard Monday. Staff Sgt. Timothy Walker testified he went to the Airdrie farm north of Calgary the morning of July 5, 2014. Source
  • Internet charmed by small band of women who marched in tiny N.S. village

    Canada News CTV News
    DIGBY, N.S. -- When Gwen Wilson and Melissa Merritt decided at the last minute to organize their own women's march on Saturday, they were prepared to be the only ones trudging down the only road in their rural Nova Scotia village. Source
  • Todd Nicholson named Team Canada's Paralympic chef de mission

    Canada News CBC News
    The Canadian Paralympic Committee has announced that retired sledge hockey player Todd Nicholson will be Team Canada's chef de mission for the 2018 Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The 47-year-old Ottawa native competed in five Paralympic Games, including sledge hockey's debut at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Source
  • 'Murder gives me a high'; Teen’s diary leads to 15-year sentence after innocent woman stabbed 21 times

    World News Toronto Sun
    "I stabbed an innocent woman to death earlier today ... It was absolutely fantastic. Murder gives me a high unlike any other. It feels like this crisp unreality, flashing and sparkling, adrenaline and shock." While these lines might sound like the demented writings of John Wayne Gacy or perhaps Charles Manson, they actually appeared in what police said was a diary kept by a teenage girl named Pearl Moen. Source