Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, released a statement August 12 revealing that he has cancer. Doctors discovered the cancer following a recent liver surgery. Mr. Carter made the announcement though The Carter Center, saying the cancer is now in other parts of his body.
At 90-years-old, Carter has continued to play an important role in politics and humanitarian efforts since leaving the White House in 1981. According to the New York Times, the former president’s health has been questioned in recent months. In May, Carter cut short a visit to Guyana after falling ill. Carter was visiting the country to observe elections.
The brief statement released by The Carter Center did not detail what type of cancer Mr. Carter has but, as reported by the Star Tribune, cancer often spreads to the liver, although it does not usually originate there. The statement said more details should be forthcoming.
“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’s statement explained.
Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 election before losing a reelection campaign to Ronald Reagan in 1980. A one-time peanut farmer from Georgia, Carter served in the state senate before running for president. After leaving office, he founded The Carter Center in Atlanta in 1982. Part of the center’s mission is “a commitment to human rights and the alleviation of human suffering. It seeks to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health.” In 2002, Carter was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work.
In his most recent book, “A Full Life: Reflections at 90,” released in July of this year, Carter detailed a history of familial battles with cancer. Carter wrote that he lost his father, brother, and two sisters to pancreatic cancer.
“The National Institutes of Health began to check all members of our family regularly, and my last remaining sibling, Gloria, sixty-four, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died in 1990,” Carter wrote. “There was no record of another American family having lost four members to this disease, and since that time I have had regular X-rays, CAT scans, or blood analyses, with hope of early detection if I develop the same symptoms.”
Since Wednesday’s announcement numerous public figures and politicians have expressed support for Carter. In a statement released by the White House, President Obama and the first lady wished the former president “a fast and full recovery,” adding, “Jimmy, you’re as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you.”