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In sickness...

If you haven't seen it, you should watch it. If your family hasn't yet been touched by cancer, it will. If you're looking for a way to deal with cancer in a forthright way and with great grace, this -- according to the majority of those I've sampled who watched it happen -- was it. (Click to watch 20 minute video.)

Today John and Elizabeth Edwards stepped before the media in the very same Chapel Hill courtyard that once served as the backdrop for their wedding reception. Moments earlier, and for some time in advance, the Web site Politico.com was reporting that Edwards was ending or suspending his campaign for office because his wife's cancer had made a comeback. As I later said on the air: only one of those two stories turned out to be right. Elizabeth Edwards went to the doctor to investigate a pain in her ribcage. They discovered a spot of metastasized breast cancer on the other side of her ribcage.


The news conference that followed was extraordinary for its directness. While they spoke of having overcome "struggles in the past" (the loss of a son, surviving breast cancer initially back in 2004), John and Elizabeth Edwards made it clear, "the campaign goes on." Mrs. Edwards, standing in the sun and calling on reporters by name, was herself sunny and composed -- showing different sides of who she is at different times -- the attorney side of her character, the spouse, the mother of four children.

While I note that the cable wags are already debating this -- the effect on the campaign, the seriousness with which the Edwardses pursue their politics, how fortunate she is to have the best possible care, even painful discussions of her prognosis -- her own physician, Dr. Lisa Carey of UNC, gave an equally interesting news conference after the couple had exited. Answering mostly respectful questions (the only real clunker was, "And...like...how many scares has she had?"), she methodically went through the known and unknown. She at one point answered, "Yes, it is involving other bones, possibly other organs..." while calling the cancer "largely confined." All those assembled agreed that it was "no longer curable but completely treatable..." as a live television audience of cancer survivors -- in various stages of living with the disease and the threat of its return -- no doubt watched while nodding in a kind of mutual understanding.

We'll devote a good bit of the top of the broadcast to this story tonight. We'll also check in with Ann Curry covering Darfur, Mike Taibbi on some young men preparing to ship to Iraq, and the controversey over Wikipedia, the world's largest not-entirely-exact online "encyclopedia."

Great thanks to those of you who read yesterday's link to the "Seven Pillars" article -- especially those who shared with others and posted a comment here. And wasn't Richard Engel's documentary extraordinary?

We hope you'll join us for tonight's broadcast of Nightly News.