Society

Jimmy Carter: No Need For Cancer Treatment

| by Sean Kelly
Former President Jimmy CarterFormer President Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter announced he no longer needs treatment for cancer.

The 91-year-old announced the news during his Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, on March 6.

"And then the doctors determined that I didn't need any more treatment," he said in his announcement. "So I'm not going to have any more treatment."

Carter's spokeswoman, Deanna Congileo, said in an email that his doctors plan to continue scans to be sure the cancer has not returned. He will "resume treatment if necessary." The success of Carter's treatment is due in large part to a drug called Keytruda, which helps the body seek out and destroy cancer cells.

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Keytruda has been called "game-changing" for patients like Carter who have melanoma. The drug is relatively new, and doctors are still learning about how it should be used and for how long.

"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," American Cancer Society Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Len Lichtenfeld told ABC News. "This is clearly a [decision] based on individual evidence specific to the president and made with his doctors."

Maranatha Baptist Church member Jill Stuckey said Carter's health updates, which precede his Sunday School lessons every week, have become a "pattern" for the church.

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

The news came following the passing of the Honorable Jimmy Carter Cancer Treatment Access Act in the Georgia House of Representatives. The bill enables cancer patients in Georgia to receive the same treatment the that former president did.

"We want all the citizens of Georgia to receive the same benefits," Republican State Rep. Mike Cheokas, who introduced the legislation, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sources: ABC News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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