Medical experts explain Carter's cancer and future

Medical experts explain Carter's cancer and future

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Medical experts said improvements in technology and treatment could be a huge help to President Jimmy Carter. A Phoebe oncologist said those new treatments have been used on other patients with good results, so there's reason to be hopeful for President Carter.

President Carter is in good spirits despite a devastating diagnosis—melanoma in his liver and brain.

"It's one of the very lethal cancers because most of the time it's under diagnosed and by the time you diagnose it, it could be in one of the organs," said Phoebe Putney Oncologist Dr. Chirag Jani.

The former leader of the most powerful country in the world is hitting the ground running. A surgery in early August removed the mass from his liver along with ten percent of the organ.

"As soon as you find the melanoma, the most important and the best treatment is surgical removal," said Dr. Jani.

His first treatment of targeted radiation at the small melanoma spots on his brain was yesterday. Dr. Jani says that's an effective way to target the cancer.

"The reason you to target this is so you don't have excessive side effects and you don't damage the surrounding area in the brain because as you know, even one millimeter of the brain can control the left side of the body," said Dr. Jani.

Carter will also have four treatments in 3 week intervals of a new drug that will aim to stimulate his immune system.
His grandson, Jason, spoke for the family and was very clear.

"This is not a eulogy," said Jason Carter.

Even doctors agree. Although cancer in the brain can be very hard to cure, improvements in the medical field will benefit even this 90-year old cancer fighter.

"Historically in seventy years, we didn't have any specific treatment and now in the last 3-5 years, there is a lot that of treatment which includes vaccines," said Dr. Jani.

Family members vow to be by his side every step of the way and hope this journey lasts several more years.

Right now, the former president is not scheduled to have any more radiation treatments. He is back in Plains and will be teaching Sunday school this Sunday.

Copyright 2015 WALB. All rights reserved.