Former president, Jimmy Carter announced this week that his cancer is in remission. The 91-year-old revealed he was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in August and his most recent brain scans do not reveal any signs of the original cancer spots nor are there any new ones.
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When we think about melanoma, we think about skin cancer. Rarely, like in his case, about 4% of the time, it can spread to other parts of the body, including the brain. Carter underwent surgery to remove tumors from his liver and radiation to treat the cancer that spread to his brain. Even though he’s in remission, experts say that he is not completely cured and the cancer could still come back.
The former president continues to receive preventative treatment and takes a drug called pembrolizumab, also known as Keytruda. The drug is part of a new class of drugs that fight cancer by boosting the immune system. Keytruda costs $150,000 a year and it is one of eight new melanoma drugs approved since 2011. Patients that take this drug see the cancer shrink or stops growing all together.