90-year-old president was first diagnosed with a tumor in his liver and has undergone surgery to remove it. Now the cancer has spread where he has been detected with four spots of melanoma on his brain.
Examinations that began with the discovery of cancer during liver surgery have revealed "four spots of melanoma on my brain," Carter told at his presidential center in Atlanta. Carter is being treated at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.
"It's in the hands God, whom I worship, and I'll be prepared for anything that comes. I'm ready for anything and looking forward to a new adventure," said Carter.
The nation's 39th president told he had hoped the cancer would be confined to his liver, and at one point believed he had only "a few weeks left." But now he is at ease and bold to face anything that life throws at him.
According to the Melanoma Research Foundation, Melanoma is infamously dangerous because of its ability to spread in its later stages. The cancer originates in the melanocytes, which are pigment-producing cells in the basal layer of the skin. When caught early, it's often curable. However, symptoms usually do not arise till later stages and that's what makes it risky to cure it in later stages.
Dr.Wafik S. El-Deiry, Deputy Director of Fox Chase Cancer Center, explains how melanoma can reach the brain. "When melanoma grows, it starts to invade the blood vessels and it gets into the circulation. So the melanoma cells can leave the skin, get into blood vessels, and eventually end up in various organs, as seems to be the case here."
While Carter's age in and of itself is not considered a contraindication for cancer treatment. El-Deiry said, "I treated a man in his late-90s recently with chemotherapy, and he "did just fine" — you kind of have to figure out what the goals are of the treatment and [remember that] the most important thing is to do no harm and take care to adjust dosages."