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MANTLE TAKES BAD NEWS WITH COURAGE

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

"The doctors are pretty straightforward. He listened to Dr. (Daniel) DeMarco and thanked him for the information," said Roy True, a Dallas attorney who has known Mantle since 1969. "There was no dampening of his spirit. Mick understands the challenge."Mantle, 63, remained in serious condition today at Baylor University Medical Center, where he was being treated for anemia brought on by chemotherapy. The Hall of Famer is suffering from hepatoma, an aggressive form of cancer, and his condition was changed from stable to serious on Wednesday.

True said that he and Mantle reviewed results of a CAT scan Monday that revealed the cancer had spread from his right lung and liver.

The New York Times reported today that an unidentified family friend said the cancer had spread to Mantle's pancreas and bowels. True said he was unaware of the report.

"There was no involvement with the bowels or the pancreas that I was told about," True said. "That's not to say they're not, but I went over it with Dr. DeMarco in a pretty detailed review, and he made no mention of it."

Mantle's doctors and family have refused to say where the cancer had spread.

True said doctors plan to start a different type of chemotherapy on Mantle on Friday.

"The new chemotherapy is not necessarily stronger. What they were giving him was pretty strong. This is a combination of agents," True said.

He said Mantle's doctors have not given up hope.

"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 if putting it into remission."

True would not say if doctors had told him Mantle's odds of surviving.

Mantle has received seven blood transfusions since entering the hospital with anemia on Friday, said Jeff Place, a hospital spokesman.

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

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. "I found him to be his typical, fighting, Mickey Mantle self," the friend said.