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Spread of Cancer Diminishes Mantle’s Chances of Survival

August 10, 1995

DALLAS (AP) _ Mickey Mantle took the news that his cancer had spread with courage and grace, a longtime friend and business adviser said today.

``There was no dampening of his spirit. Mick understands the challenge,″ said Roy True, a Dallas attorney who has known the slugger since 1969 and advises him on business matters.

At the time of his liver transplant two months ago, Mantle, 63, was given a better-than-even chance of living five years. But for people in whom the cancer has spread beyond the liver and lungs, the odds are far less, a doctor said.

``Chemotherapy in this situation has no track record of success _ unless he’s just very lucky,″ said Dr. Brian Carr, a transplant expert at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Transplant Institute. He stressed however that ``you can never say never in biology.″ Carr is not part of the team treating Mantle.

Mantle was in serious condition today at Baylor University Medical Center, where he was being treated for anemia brought on by chemotherapy. Hospital spokesman Jeff Place said the Baseball Hall of Famer has received seven blood transfusions since entering the hospital Friday.

Mantle is suffering from hepatoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

True said Mantle was brave on getting the news. ``The doctors are pretty straightforward. He listened to Dr. (Daniel) DeMarco and thanked him for the information,″ True said.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the hospital said CAT scans revealed Mantle’s cancer has spread beyond his right lung and liver. It did not say where the cancer has spread, and Mantle’s doctors refused to elaborate at his request.

``He’s doing OK and I really can’t say much more,″ DeMarco said. ``He just doesn’t want everybody to know how he’s doing, but he’s doing OK.″

The hospital said Mantle ``is spending time with his family and wants his friends to know he continues to fight.″

True also declined to give details, and said he could not confirm a report today in The New York Times that the cancer was affecting Mantle’s bowels and pancreas. The newspaper quoted an unidentified family friend.

True said doctors planned to start a different type of chemotherapy on Mantle on Friday and that doctors had not given up hope of fighting the cancer.

``To say they are grim would not be correct. But they are serious about it,″ True said. ``They’re no more grim than they have been. But I don’t think a cure is something that can occur in situations like this. It’s a matter of putting it into remission.″

Mantle underwent a transplant June 8 at Baylor to replace a liver badly damaged by cancer, hepatitis and years of alcohol abuse. On Aug. 1, doctors announced the cancer had spread to his right lung.

His doctors have said they now 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.

Dr. Isaac Djerassi, a cancer specialist from Philadelphia who examined Mantle last week, commented generally about hepatoma, the type of cancer Mantle has.

``This particular cancer can go anywhere ... usually the lungs, the abdomen and sometimes the bones,″ he said. ``It just makes it clear that he’s in big trouble.″

Family members contacted by The Associated Press declined to comment.

A close friend who asked not to be identified visited Mantle Wednesday and told The Associated Press that Mantle greeted him ``with a firm handshake″ as he sat in a chair with his legs propped up.

He received a baseball signed by the Yankees, his former team, with ``Get Well, Mick″ on it, the friend said.

``I found him to be his typical, fighting, Mickey Mantle self,″ the friend said. ``At one point, his granddaughter came in the room and he said, `There’s my Miss America.′ I found him to be chipper and showing a good sense of humor.″

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