Teresa Heinz, wife of the U.S. Sen. John Kerry, revealed Wednesday she has been treated for breast cancer and urged women to get regular mammograms that she says could save their lives.
“The cancer was detected at an early stage thanks to a mammogram and the work of a remarkable physician who insisted on investigating beyond what the mammogram could show,” Heinz, 71, writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I have had two operations and my prognosis for a full recovery is good.”
She says her illness has “reminded me to slow down, cherish family and friends, and deepen my sense of life as a gift to be unwrapped each day with newfound joy and hope.”
Heinz disclosed details of her cancer after a two-month silence in an editorial titled “Get that Mammogram.” Heinz spoke out against new guidelines from the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force suggesting that women under 50 no longer get annual mammograms and those over the age of 74 could forgo the procedure.
“As any woman can attest, mammograms can be nerve racking. And as the government’s task force pointed out, they can produce misleading results and anxiety,” she writes. “But I’ve been personally reminded that they also can produce something else: a lifesaving early diagnosis.”