Democrat John Edwards says his presidential campaign "goes on strongly" in the face of a repeat cancer diagnosis for his wife, Elizabeth, a somber development that thrust his White House bid into uncharted territory.
Elizabeth Edwards' breast cancer had spread to a bone, the couple revealed at a news conference on Thursday designed to reassure the public about the prognosis for her health and his candidacy.
"The bottom line is, her cancer is back," said John Edwards, the 2004 vice presidential nominee and former senator, at a news conference in their hometown of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. "We are very optimistic about this, because having been through some struggles together in the past, we know that the key is to keep your head up and keep moving and be strong."
The Edwardses suffered through the death of their teenage son, Wade, in 1996 and Mrs. Edwards' breast cancer diagnosis the day after John Kerry and John Edwards lost the 2004 election. She was treated with surgery and several months of radiation and chemotherapy.
The recurrence of the cancer presents a setback for the couple, both personally and politically.
"Getting these results was not a good day for us," John Edwards said.
Elizabeth Edwards' illness and treatment are certain to affect her husband's campaign schedule and may raise questions about the viability of his campaign, especially among financial donors wondering whether he will be in for the long haul. The first fundraising deadline is next Saturday.
Edwards has been considered among the top-tier candidates although he trails frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama in public opinion polls. His forceful opposition to the Iraq war and often-repeated apology for his 2002 vote for it, as well as his plans on universal health care, have improved his standing among the party's liberal base.