Former US president Jimmy Carter said on Wednesday that recent liver surgery revealed he had cancer that had spread to other parts of his body.
“I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare,” Carter, 90, said in a statement.
“A more complete public statement will be made when facts are known, possibly next week.”
Carter, a Democrat, served as the 39th president from 1977 to 1981 after defeating Republican incumbent Gerald Ford.
He was defeated for re-election in 1980 by Republican Ronald Reagan.
The Carter family has a history of pancreatic cancer, including his parents, two sisters and younger brother Billy Carter who all died from the disease.
Carter told the New York Times in 2007 that he and other relatives had given blood for genetic studies seeking to help doctors diagnose the disease.
Asked why he has escaped the disease for so long while it devastated the rest of his family he blamed smoking.
“The only difference between me and my father and my siblings was that I never smoked a cigarette,” said Carter, former governor of Georgia and a state senator.
Carter is a virulent critic of Israel. He maintains that Israeli policy in the West Bank represented instances of apartheid worse that those that once held sway in South Africa.
Carter’s comments were broadcast on Israel Radio, which played a tape of an interview with the ex-president. He made similar remarks in interviews, such as one to CBC television.
“When Israel does occupy this territory deep within the West Bank, and connects the 200-or-so settlements with each other, with a road, and then prohibits the Palestinians from using that road, or in many cases even crossing the road, this perpetrates even worse instances of apartness, or apartheid, than we witnessed even in South Africa.”
Carter has rejected the criticism of use of the word apartheid.
“I feel completely at ease,” said Carter, while accusing Israel of oppressing Palestinians. “I am not running for office. And I have Secret Service protection.”