When 91-year-old former President Jimmy Carter announced he was cancer-free from a dangerous melanoma that had metastasized to his brain, the nation cheered his good news.
Cheers also went up in cancer labs and treatment centers around the country, as front-line doctors applauded the message his success sends to other melanoma patients, especially the elderly.
“A lot of patients and their doctors will say, he’s 80 years old, he’s 90 there’s no point of giving him this treatment,” said Dr. Adi Diab of the MD Anderson Melanoma Medical Oncology Department. “The case of President Carter put an answer to that. It’s not true.”
“A patient’s overall health condition is more important than their age,” adds Vanderbilt melanoma oncologist Dr. Douglas Johnson.
“So the legacy for me as a cancer physician is that I take a look at a 90 year old, and if they’re doing pretty well as Mr. Carter was, I would not hesitate to give him treatment,” agreed Cleveland Clinic melanoma oncologist Dr. Marc Ernstoff. “These new therapies can be well tolerated and can provide significant benefit.”