Jennings' Condition Worse than Expected
May 6, 2005

Peter Jennings' fight against lung cancer appears to be worse than we first thought. Sources inside ABC News tell "Extra" that Jennings can barely speak and is losing his hair from chemo. But he's not losing his determination.

As anchors like Elizabeth Vargas fill in, we are learning the veteran anchor is still keeping a hand in the broadcasts. Last week, he sent the staff an e-mail, which reads in part: "Yesterday, I decided to go to the office. I live only a few blocks away. I got as far as the bedroom door. Chemo strikes."

Dr. Greg Olsen, a prominent lung cancer specialist, told us that although he's not treating Jennings, the fact that doctors did not operate on him is not an encouraging sign.

"Imagine getting run over by a truck. You get up, dust yourself off, and a couple of weeks later, you get run over by a truck again," Olsen explained. "If it was still within the lung or within the lymph nodes in the lung, they would have likely gone to surgery. Since they didn't operate, it's a reasonable guess that it has moved to the lymph nodes in the central part of his chest."

Meanwhile, at the White House correspondent's dinner, journalists like Maria Bartiromo and Chris Wallace sent Jennings their best. "It's just so awful," Bartiromo said. "My heart goes out to him."

"I can't imagine what he's going through," Wallace added. "I worked with him for 15 years. I wish him the best."

Loyal viewers have sent so many cards that ABC says it can't even estimate the number. So, as Jennings bravely fights on, he can take strength from the love and support of his co-workers, colleagues and millions of loyal viewers.

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