Mickey Mantle’s cancer has spread and his condition deteriorated Wednesday, but he resolved to keep fighting his aggressive disease.
CAT scans showed that Mantle’s cancer has advanced beyond his liver and right lung, although doctors would not say where else it has been discovered.
The condition of the 63-year-old Hall of Famer worsened from stable to serious at Baylor University Medical Center, where he was being treated for anemia brought on by chemotherapy. Mantle is suffering from hepatoma, an aggressive form of cancer.
“This particular cancer can go anywhere … usually the lungs, the abdomen and sometimes the bones,” said Dr. Isaac Djerassi, a cancer specialist who has examined Mantle and would comment only generally on his illness. “It just makes it clear that he’s in big trouble,” he said.
The hospital said the former New York Yankees slugger “is spending time with his family and wants his friends to know he continues to fight.”
Dr. Brian Carr, a transplant expert at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Transplant Institute who has not examined Mantle, said similar patients probably have less than 18 months to live.
“Chemotherapy in this situation has no track record of success - unless he’s just very lucky,” he said. “You can never say never in biology.”
Mantle underwent a transplant on June 8 to replace his liver, which had been ravaged by cancer, hepatitis and years of hard drinking.
On Aug. 1, doctors announced the cancer had spread to his right lung. His doctors have said they suspect the cancer was in the lung before the transplant but was so small it was undetectable. They said they wouldn’t have replaced the liver had they known the cancer had spread.
Carr and Djerassi agreed that in cases such as Mantle’s, the cancer often spreads to other organs and it would be useless to operate.
At Mantle’s request, his doctors would not talk specifically about his case.
“He’s doing OK and I really can’t say much more,” said Dr. Daniel DeMarco, Mantle’s gastroenterologist. “He just doesn’t want everybody to know how he’s doing, but he’s doing OK.”