Former US president Jimmy Carter declares he's free of cancer

Former US president Jimmy Carter takes questions during a news conference about his cancer diagnosis and treatment plans, in Atlanta, Georgia, on Aug 20, 2015.
Former US president Jimmy Carter takes questions during a news conference about his cancer diagnosis and treatment plans, in Atlanta, Georgia, on Aug 20, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Former US president Jimmy Carter told church parishioners in his native Plains, Georgia on Sunday (Dec 6) that he is free of cancer, US media reported.

The 91-year-old Nobel peace laureate and global humanitarian recently had a tumor from his liver removed, only to find four melanoma spots on his brain.

"Went for an MRI this past week and they (doctors) didn't find any cancer at all in the brain," Mr Carter said, according to NBC News.

One of his friends and parishioners told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he made the announcement towards the beginning of the Sunday school class he leads at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains.

"He said he got a scan this week and the cancer was gone," church congregant Jill Stuckey told the paper by phone, adding that "the church, everybody here, just erupted in applause".

In November, the Carter Center said the 39th President was responding well to treatment and that there was no evidence of new growth.

The former Democratic president won plaudits when he discussed his illness publicly in August, sounding serene and in high spirits, smiling often and joking with reporters in a thick Georgia drawl.

"You know, I have had a wonderful life. I have got thousands of friends and I have had an exciting and adventurous and gratifying existence," Mr Carter said.

His grandson James responded to the news, stating "See? I knew he wasn't really human", according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves baseball team congratulated Mr Carter on Twitter, writing: "We are so happy to hear that you are cancer-free, Mr President!"

Several of Mr Carter's relatives died of pancreatic cancer, which tends to show up earlier in life.

Mr Carter, a one-time peanut farmer and former Georgia governor, served one term as US president, from 1977 to 1981.