02:55 am
27 October 2016

Former US President Jimmy Carter announces he has cancer and it has spread

Washington (CNN)Former President Jimmy Carter has cancer, and it has spread to other parts of his body, he announced Wednesday.

Carter, 90, had a “small mass” removed from his liver during surgery earlier this month. At the time, he received a prognosis for a full recovery.

But he said Wednesday in a brief statement that “recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body.”

It was not clear where the cancer originated or where it had spread. Carter’s family, however, has a history of pancreatic cancer, which CNN correspondent Sanjay Gupta said could be afflicting the former president.

In a statement, President Barack Obama said he and first lady Michelle Obama “send our best wishes to President Carter for a fast and full recovery.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Rosalynn and the entire Carter family as they face this challenge with the same grace and determination that they have shown so many times before. Jimmy, you’re as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you,” Obama said.

Carter, a Democrat, was elected to the presidency in 1976 but was defeated by Ronald Reagan four years later. He continues to be a much-discussed political figure: several 2016 Republican presidential candidates, including Rick Perry and Ted Cruz, frequently invoke Carter to suggest that the nation can recover from liberal leadership.

After leaving office, Carter has earned plaudits for the work of the Carter Center, the charity he runs from his current home in Atlanta. But he has also stirred controversy on the world stage for comments he has made about Israel and South Africa.

Carter had been in relatively good health despite his age. In May, however, he cut short a trip to Guyana because of an illness.

Carter said he will receive treatment at Emory University in Atlanta and that more information will be released as soon as next week.

Carter, 90, underwent surgery earlier this month to remove a small mass in his liver. “His operation proceeded without issues, and the prognosis is excellent for a full recovery,” the Carter Center said in a statement after the surgery. While Carter did not reveal what kind of cancer he has, there is a history of pancreatic cancer in his family. Carter’s father and three siblings all died of the illness, and his mother had it as well, the former president told The New York Times in 2007.