“We were very, very surprised,” said family friend and fellow Maranatha Baptist Church member Jill Stuckey. “This was just wonderful news out of the blue.” Carter made the announcement in front of a large Sunday school class earlier today, saying that he has “no signs of cancer,” based on a scan he had received the week before.
Carter posted another statement on the Carter Center website, saying that based on his most recent MRI brain scan, he “did not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor any new ones.” He promised, however, to keep receiving regular treatments for his melanoma. The 91-year-old former President had a small cancerous mass taken out from his liver on August 12, and has been in treatment due to four spots of melanoma that were found in his brain.
“From very beginning [of this], I’ve said that in any battle between cancer and Carter’s brain, Carter’s brain will win,” said former White House communications director and longtime Carter friend Gerald Rafshoon. “I’ve been up against that brain. It’s a tough opponent.”
Carter publicly announced his cancer diagnosis in August, saying that he had just received Keytruda, a drug that’s part of the pembrolizumab family and is designed to leverage the immune system against cancer cells. And while the drug is quite expensive at $150,000 a year, it has been proven to be capable of marked, evident results in patients suffering from different types of cancer. Making Carter’s recovery even more astonishing is that only one-third of malignant melanoma patients respond to Keytruda treatment.