CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Elizabeth Edwards said Tuesday that she got some good news: She has a type of cancer that is more likely to be controlled by anti-estrogen drugs.
Mrs. Edwards, wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, expressed frustration with reports that she's likely to die within five years. She said doctors can't give her a reliable life expectancy and even if they could, the information would be of no comfort to her.
"I don't care," she said in an interview with The Associated Press as she campaigned with her husband. "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. I'm still going to fight to get rid of this — if they tell me I've got 15 minutes I'm still going to fight. It doesn't matter what the prognosis is. So it's not an important piece of information to me."
The Edwardses announced nearly two weeks ago that her breast cancer had returned and spread to her bone. They said they had no intention of ending his bid because doctors told her that although she's likely to die from the disease eventually, the campaign wouldn't interfere with her treatment.
Mrs. Edwards had her first post-diagnosis doctor's visit Friday and emerged encouraged. She said her doctor expected she had the most aggressive "triple-negative" cancer, but testing found that she had two of the three key hormonal receptors — estrogen and progesterone. She said her the original diagnosis was "slightly estrogen heavy," but this time it's a strong marker and she also has the second progesterone marker.
"I consider that a good sign," Mrs. Edwards said in an interview in an art classroom before appearing with her husband at the Prairie High School gymnasium. "It means there are more medications which I can expect to be responsive."
Mrs. Edwards, pointing out a large bruise on the back of her hand and another on her forearm from her IV, said she got an initial course of a bone-building drug. She's also taking Femara, an aromatase inhibitor, but is not undergoing chemotherapy treatments.