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Jimmy Carter Announces That His Cancer Is Gone

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Former President Jimmy Carter was teaching his regular Sunday school class this morning when he paused to share some good news. He is cancer-free. Carter has been undergoing radiation and drug treatment to battle the disease. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The 91-year-old former president told his congregation at Maranatha Baptist Church that a scan had shown no sign of melanoma and that his doctors said he was cancer-free. One church member told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the 350 people in the room erupted in applause. Carter's grandson later confirmed the news to the Associated Press. Carter revealed in August that cancer had spread from his liver to his brain. Doctors had found four small lesions on his brain, he said, and Carter said he was ready for whatever came.

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JIMMY CARTER: And I'm perfectly at ease with whatever comes. 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.

ZARROLI: At the time, Carter was praised for his frankness and serenity. He said, I've had a wonderful life. I've had an exciting and adventurous and gratifying existence. In the months since then, Carter underwent radiation treatment, and the Carter Center issued a statement last month saying he had responded well. The former president talked about his medical regime in an interview with NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED in November.

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CARTER: I'm taking special treatments for the cancer in my brain and in my liver. Part of the liver was removed, and they did the treatment on my - four places in my brain with radiation. And now I'm taking a long-term medicine. And it stimulates my own immune system to fight against the cancer. It's a newly-developed medicine.

ZARROLI: Meanwhile, Carter said he was keeping active, continuing to teach Sunday school and traveling. He did the interview from Memphis, where he was helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity.

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CARTER: So we don't know yet what the results have been. But I'm feeling better than anybody expected me to. And so I'm still maintaining a pretty normal schedule, I'd say.

ZARROLI: Carter has completed radiation treatment. But in a statement, he said he will continue to take drugs to boost his immune system. Jim Zarroli, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.