Exclusive: John And Elizabeth Edwards

Edwards Open About Cancer, Unconditional About Couple's Decision On Presidential Run

When John and Elizabeth Edwards announced this past Thursday that her breast cancer had returned and spread to her bones, and that his presidential campaign would continue, they sparked a national discussion about the choices involved.

At this stage Elizabeth's cancer is incurable and treatment doesn't always prolong life. Was it the right decision to stay in the race? Can John Edwards run for president and care for his wife and family, a family that has already suffered the death of a son more than a decade ago? Can John Edwards be president without being distracted by his wife's illness?

Those are some of the questions 60 Minutes correspondent Katie Couric asked the couple this weekend after a campaign event in Las Vegas.

Katie Couric:
Elizabeth, first and foremost, how are you feeling?

Elizabeth Edwards:
Actually, I feel fine. I mean, except for a cracked rib that is completely unrelated to any of the more serious issues I face, I feel terrific.

Katie Couric:
Have you found that people are relating to you a bit differently with this news?

Elizabeth Edwards:
Well, I mean, I had somebody... hug me... in the last hour with a tear going down the side of her face. And I'm actually hoping that's one of the things that this discussion will fix. That people will see that – that you're not necessarily dying of cancer but you can also live with cancer and that – and you can live a full life. Concentrate on the things that matter to you.

We're all going to die. And I pretty much know what I'm going to die of now. But I – I do want to live as full and normal a life as I can from this point on.

Katie Couric:
Have you received any additional information the last couple of days about where the cancer might have spread other than this area of your ribs?

Elizabeth Edwards:
That was... there... we... there are a couple of hot spots, on the bone scan, in my right hip, for example. And one of the questions is whether or not to do radiation to reduce the size of that – of the cancer in that location and for fear that it might weaken my bone and that I might break my hip. But their consensus was that it was too small an area for that to be a risk.

So, you know, we were on a real roller coaster, the two of us, on Wednesday.
  • James Klatell

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