Former president Jimmy Carter announced on Sunday that he no longer needs cancer treatments.
Carter, 91, shared the happy news at the beginning of the Sunday School classes he teaches at Maranatha Baptist Church in his hometown of Plains, Georgia.
In August of 2015, Carter announced that he had received a diagnosis of melanoma, which had spread to his brain. As part of his treatment plan, he said he would receive targeted radiation directly to the affected areas of his brain and would also receive doses of a just recently approved drug, called Keytruda, every three weeks.
Carter made a similar announcement at his church in December when he told his Sunday School class that recent brain scans had detected no cancer. At that time, he said he would be continuing the drug treatments for the time being.
Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, who was not involved in Carter’s care, is the deputy chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. He explained that there is some disagreement in the medical community in regards to how long a patient should continue on Keytruda.
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,” Lichtenfeld said. “This is clearly a (decision) based on individual evidence specific to the president and made with his doctors.
According to Carter’s spokeswoman Deanna Congileo, doctor’s will continue to perform brain scans on the former president and he will “resume treatment if necessary.”
Carter has made a habit of giving updates about his life at the beginning of his Sunday School classes. Jill Stuckey, a fellow member of Maranatha Baptist Church, said that Carter’s updates have become “a pattern for our church.”
President Carter comes in, tells us phenomenal news and we all applaud,” Stuckey, also a close friend of the Carters, said. “We’re all on pins and needles wondering how things are going, because you never know from looking at somebody. We’re thrilled.
Carter’s treatments did not slow him down. He managed to continue his work with the Carter Center, the humanitarian organization he began after leaving the White House, and even participated in a building project with Habitat For Humanity.
Featured image via video screen capture