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President Carter: I Have Cancer Spots on My Brain

Former President Jimmy Carter will begin radiation treatment for several melanoma spots on his brain Thursday afternoon.
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Former President Jimmy Carter is slated to begin radiation treatment for several melanoma spots on his brain Thursday afternoon, he said at a news conference in Atlanta.

Carter, 90, told reporters he had a mass removed from his liver on Aug. 3, which he learned was melanoma.

“I’ll be prepared for anything that comes," he said.

His family has a history of pancreatic cancer. His father, both his sisters and his brother died of pancreatic cancer, and his mother had pancreatic cancer as well.

Carter, who has been active since leaving the Oval Office, has worked with groups such as Habitat for Humanity, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 and founding the nonprofit Carter Center in his home state of Georgia.

He said he will step back from his work at the Carter Center. However, he will continue attending some meetings and sign letters as well as other lighter duties.

“I can’t really anticipate how I’ll be feeling obviously,” he said of his expectation of radiation treatments which are expected to initially include several rounds over the next few months before doctors re-evaluate.

He expects that other cancers will be discovered as treatment progresses.

" I just thought I had a few weeks left. But I was surprisingly at ease. I’ve had a wonderful life, I’ve had thousands of friends, and I’ve had an exciting and adventurous and gratifying existence," Carter said of his feelings after an MRI found the melanoma on his brain. "So I was surprisingly at ease. Much more so than my wife was. But now I feel that you know that it’s in the hands of God and my worship, and I’ll be prepared for anything that comes.”

President Barack Obama, among others, called Carter after his initial cancer announcement.

Carter also cited his deep spiritual faith as something that has helped sustain him after the diagnosis.

“I do have deep religious faith, which I’m very grateful for, and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t go into an attitude of despair or anger or anything like that," Carter said. "I was just completely at ease.”