Elizabeth Edwards has received some upbeat news regarding her battle with cancer – that it can likely be treated with anti-estrogen drugs, she says.
Rather than having the most aggressive “triple-negative” cancer, as her doctors had originally feared, testing proved that she had two of the three key hormonal receptors estrogen and progesterone.
The initial diagnosis was “slightly estrogen heavy,” she said, but this time it’s a strong marker and she also has the second marker.
“I consider that a good sign. It means there are more medications which I can expect to be responsive,” Elizabeth, 57, told the Associated Press during a campaign stop with her husband, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Tuesday.
Elizabeth also voiced her frustration with the speculation by others about her potential lifespan and reports that she’s likely to die within five years.
“I don’t care. I’m going to fight exactly as hard if they tell me that I’ve got 15 years or if I’ve got 30 years,” she said. “I’m still going to fight to get rid of this if they tell me I’ve got 15 minutes… It doesn’t matter what the prognosis is. So it’s not an important piece of information to me.”
On March 22, the Edwardses announced that Elizabeth had had a recurrence of cancer, this time incurable and in her bone. Having previously suffered from breast cancer that was believed to be in remission, the disease had “moved from the breast to the bone” and she is “no longer curable,” said her husband.
Despite the setback, the couple said they had no intention of ending his presidential bid because doctors told her that the campaign would not interfere with her treatment.
On Friday, the AP reports, Elizabeth had her first post-diagnosis visit with the doctor, from which she emerged encouraged.
Pointing out a large bruise on the back of her hand and another on her forearm from her IV, Elizabeth said she received an initial course of a bone-building drug. In addition, she’s taking the aromatase inhibitor Femara and is not having to undergo chemotherapy.
Besides, Elizabeth said, the development of drugs like Femara is one of the many reasons why she dismisses the discussions about her life expectancy.
“Femara didn’t exist five years ago,” she noted. “I don’t expect to get yesterday’s medicine. If I can help it, I’d like to get tomorrow’s medicine.”