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Your e-mails: Torn between Edwards' career and family

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(CNN) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Thursday he will continue his bid for the White House even though his wife Elizabeth's cancer has returned.

"The campaign goes on," he said at a news conference. asked readers what they thought of his decision. Below is a selection of their responses, some of which have been edited for length and clarity.

Rebecca Marks of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I am also a stage IV breast cancer survivor and I applaud their decision to continue the campaign. Their strength is inspiring and I am grateful for their openness as this is a relatively unknown side of breast cancer. Many of us are living with this and living well and Elizabeth sets a wonderful example for everyone. Her husband, John, does well as her support. The whole family has cancer, not just the patient, and now they have made all of us a community dealing with this dreadful disease.

Cheri Aschenbrenner of Raleigh, North Carolina
I was so disappointed to hear that John Edwards is putting his presidential aspirations above the health of his wife. I am a two-time breast cancer survivor and the rigors of a campaign and the treatment she will undergo are not compatible. I would have respected him much more if he would have placed his career options aside to take care of his wife. She may have told him it's OK to continue, but he is the head of that family and his responsibility is to his wife and to protecting his children's mother. There will always be another election, but his family needs him right now.

Sherry McDonald of Placerville, California
John Edwards just solidified his membership as one of "us," the regular people who face the ups and downs of medical care, jobs, educating our children and life in general. His and his wife's decision to continue their campaign is commendable and brave and I will get in his camp and fight for him all the way. They are wonderful examples of caring, dedicated leaders who are willing to sacrifice in spite of what life throws in their paths. I always thought he was the best candidate. Today just proved me right. I wish them both the best in the months to come.

Cile Alexander of Winchester, Tennessee
If my cancer were to return, I would want my husband's full attention and support on fighting my disease and not on fulfilling his own personal political desires. And if Mrs. Edwards' cancer requires treatment(s), she will need her husband with her. How selfish to chose campaigning for the White House over one's wife at a difficult time.

Cathy Duhig of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I can't even begin to say how much I admire the Edwards, especially Mrs. Edwards. My mother died from breast cancer in 1977 after a long and brave fight. She was a tough, courageous woman who would have behaved in exactly the same way as Mrs. Edwards. In fact, Mrs. Edwards reminds me very much of my mother. I am not a religious person, but I will hope and pray that Mrs. Edwards recovers, and that her husband can stay in the presidential race.

Paula Rothe of Franklin, Wisconsin
I think each individual and their family are the only ones who have the right to make any decision regarding their lives when faced with a situation like this. I know from personal experience that trying to maintain a "normal" lifestyle is the only thing that kept me sane. Changing my life to accommodate my condition would have made me feel angrier, guilty and incredibly depressed. You do what you need to do for yourself, not anyone else. And certainly not the rest of the country, or the world. I can only wish them both well and wish Elizabeth the strength to face whatever is ahead of her.

Phil Conner of Wenatchee, Washington
I admire Senator Edwards' grit, but I think his decision to continue his campaign for President is the wrong one. John Edwards should devote his entire time to his wife's survival. Mrs. Edwards is going to need him full-time.

Sandy Bryant of Hickory, North Carolina
After reading Elizabeth Edwards' book, "Saving Graces," I completely understand the family agreement for John to continue on with his campaign. She is truly an inspirational woman and loves her husband and family more than life itself. Elizabeth is a very determined person and believes in what her husband stands for. She feels that he can make a difference in our lives and that he is what our country needs right now. She will beat this cancer and in the process be an inspiration for many who are in the same situation. May God bless you Elizabeth and John Edwards and your wonderful family.

Sue Rogers of New York
I think it's commendable that they've made the decision to move forward with the campaign, but as a healthcare professional I worry that the stress involved with a presidential campaign (and if he wins the election, the presidency) puts Mrs. Edwards at greater risk for reoccurrence of her cancer as well as lessening the effectiveness of treatment. This then puts the presidency at risk and thus the country. I say focus on her health and forget political ambitions. As much as I like him politically, and I do, I wouldn't want my husband to put me, our family, and the country at risk like that. Stay focused on what really matters: family first.

Jane Wheeler of Sonoma, California
Although I am devastated about the news, I believe John Edwards should continue his campaign at this time. He can always amend it later.

My heart is with them both. They are good people.

Robert Miller of Gaston, South Carolina
I can't imagine putting any office ahead of my family. People with aspirations of being president apparently put their families second. His wife may support his continued campaign, but it is ultimately his call. How could he campaign and then govern with his wife battling cancer?

Jim Pafford of Etobicoke, Ontario
I don't agree with the decision. It is admirable that he wants to soldier on, but everybody I know who has had cancer, especially during the treatment phase, has had it take over their lives. His concentration should be spent taking care of his wife and children and helping her. I think he is going to be too distracted to either properly run a campaign, or properly take care of her. If he becomes president and she is still fighting it, will he be properly able to focus on the job?

Jacki Pillot of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
I do not think anyone but the Edwards family should be concerned by their decision.

Lucille Haack of Omaha, Nebraska
I applaud their decision to continue with the campaign. Yes, she's sick. I'm sure she'll have to spend time in the hospital, and I'm sure he will want to be there for her. But life doesn't come to a screeching halt just because you have cancer. I wish her and her family well.

Karen Douglas of Buford, Georgia
I am sad for the Edwards Family. This is a time when all of John Edwards' energy should be concentrated within the family. I think a stronger message should have been sent -- family first. Neither the campaign nor the family will now get the attention they deserve. God bless Mrs. Edwards.

Cynthia Ehrnstein of Centennia, Colorado
I lost my mother-in-law to breast cancer. It too came and went and came again. I think it is ridiculous that Edwards plans to run at this time. I hope that his wife recovers fully and is able to be at his side in 2012 or 2016 for a run, but it is clear that he needs to be at her side NOW. He needs to drop his selfish career pursuits and really look at what is important in his life. There are other people who can be president of the United States in 2008, but only one husband and father in Edwards' family. Let's be honest: If this doesn't go well for her, he will not be in a position to start a new job running our country and I say that as a Democrat who would consider supporting him in a bid for the presidency down the road.

Shelly Johnson of Santa Clarita, California
I do not believe that you can effectively run for the office of commander in chief and support your family in a serious and life-threatening illness such as cancer. For him to run seems unfair to the people of this country and to his family. Our family is and should be our first priority. Some might also think he is banking on sympathy votes.

Gary Gienger of Upton, Massachusetts
I am not and will not be an Edwards supporter. Still, I think he is right to continue. If he believes, as we should hope he does, that he can do something to help the country, what alternative does he really have? With any luck, Mrs. Edwards will have success in fighting the disease. Death will catch all of us soon enough, without wasting our chance.


Former Sen. John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, express optimism Thursday outside their North Carolina home after announcing her cancer has returned.



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