Former president Jimmy Carter announced Wednesday that he has cancer and will be undergoing treatment at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta.
Carter, 90, said the disease was discovered during recent liver surgery to remove "a small mass" and that the cancer "is now in other parts of my body."
"I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare," Carter said in a statement on the Carter Center Web site. "A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week."
In a statement, President Obama said he and first lady Michelle Obama wished Carter "a full and fast recovery."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with [wife] Rosalynn and the entire Carter family as they face this challenge with the same grace and determination that they have shown so many times before," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. "Jimmy, you're as resilient as they come, and along with the rest of America, we are rooting for you."
The president also spoke with Carter on Wednesday evening to wish him “full and speedy recovery” and extended best wishes on behalf of himself and first lady Michelle Obama, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.
Carter served as the nation's 39th president from 1977-1981. He currently is the second-oldest living former president, and he recently released an autobiography titled "A Full Life." His liver surgery had "proceeded without issues" and he was expected to make a full recovery, according to a statement from the Carter Center last week.
Carter's brother, Billy, and his two sisters died of pancreatic cancer, as did his father. His mother died of breast cancer. In an interview with the New York Times in 2007, Carter ruminated on why so many in his family had suffered from the disease.
“I’m deeply religious, I’m a fatalist, I’m 82 years old and I’ve had a good life,” he said then. In a recent interview on PBS NewsHour, he said his family members all smoked cigarettes but he never did, suggesting that might have been a "triggering device" for genetic causes of the disease in them.