Monday, December 6, 2010

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Elizabeth Edwards told not to treat spreading cancer

Via USA Today

Elizabeth Edwards, announced Monday that her cancer has taken a turn for the worse and has now spread to her liver.

Edwards, 61, the estranged wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Now, with cancer in her liver, her doctors have advised her not to undergo any more anti-cancer treatments, according to a family statement.

"For them to say that she is not strong enough to benefit from further treatment, that says to me that her disease is far advanced and she is facing the end of her life," says Ira Byock, director of palliative medicine at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, who has no personal knowledge of Edwards' case.

Doctors say it's hard to predict how long someone in Edwards' situation will survive, especially without knowing details of her case.

But patients in this condition rarely live past six to 12 months, says Hal Burstein, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

On average, breast cancer patients survive about three to four years after their cancer first metastasizes, Burstein says. It has been three years since Edwards revealed that her breast cancer has spread to her bones, in 2007.

Although early breast tumors are usually curable, and doctors have made great strides in prolonging the lives of women with advanced disease, metastatic breast cancer is not considered curable, Burstein says.
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Elizabeth Edwards died yesterday in her Chapel Hill home at the age of 61 - R.I.P

Despite claims that she could last a year or more, Elizabeth Edwards died yesterday in her Chapel Hill home at the age of 61. She had fought a 6 year battle with breast cancer and was recently told to stop treatments as that cancer had spread to her liver and other organs and was no longer treatable. She died with her family at her side.

Edwards made a name for herself standing behind her husband, John Edwards, as he ran for Vice President and President on two occasions. Both times were unsuccessful attempts but Mrs. Edwards was a constant companion through those times, working the behind the scenes life and even taking the podium for her husband on occasion.

there were revelations. John Edwards had carried on an affair with a younger woman and fathered a child while his wife attended her cancer treatments and cared for their children. This would be the end of his political career and the end of their marriage.

Mrs. Edwards emerged from the public breakup of the marriage a hero. She became an author and speaker and traveled the country speaking to cancer groups and women’s groups to give them strength.
The cancer that she was fighting went into early remission during the run for Vice President. However, the cancer returned during the run for President but she remained on the trail, taking her chemotherapy drugs while on the road and continuing to fight for her estranged husband.

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