December 23rd, 2009
04:08 PM ET
10 months ago

Kerry's wife battling cancer

Teresa Heinz-Kerry, the wife of Sen. John Kerry, is battling breast cancer first discovered by an annual mammogram last September.
Teresa Heinz-Kerry, the wife of Sen. John Kerry, is battling breast cancer first discovered by an annual mammogram last September.

(CNN) - Teresa Heinz-Kerry, the wife of Sen. John Kerry, is battling breast cancer first discovered by an annual mammogram earlier this year, she announced in a Pittsburgh-Post Gazette Op-Ed Wednesday.

A spokesman from the Heinz Family Philanthropies confirmed to CNN Heinz-Kerry does have cancer.

Heinz-Kerry writes she was diagnosed and treated for stage one cancer in both breasts, first detected at an early stage during an annual mammogram. According to Heinz-Kerry, she has had two operations and her prognosis for a full recovery is good.

In the Op-Ed, the 71-year-old Heinz-Kerry also said an annual mammogram is vital to a positive prognosis, and made clear she sharply disagreed with a federal panel recommendation last month that women in their 40s should stop routinely having annual mammograms and older women should cut back to one scheduled exam every other year.

"The members of the task force were predisposed to choose numbers over people and their recommendations forgot that women do not need more excuses not to get a mammogram at regular intervals, as determined by their doctors," Heinz-Kerry writes. "Our busy lives are full of those. What we need are more reasons to keep those appointments, more support of the value of prevention and refinement of diagnostic procedures, and more choices."

"I am not a doctor or medical expert, but it is neither the doctors nor the experts to whom I wish to speak here. It is, rather, to all the women who have been left confused by this latest report, and to all those who love them," she added.

The Department of Health and Human Services has said it did not endorse the government panel's recommendation and continues to urge for annual mammograms.

(Updated with Heinz-Kerry's Op-Ed comments)

– CNN's Bob Crowley contributed to this report


Filed under: John Kerry
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. People's Voice

    I hope she has health insurance. Oh that's right. Not only is she rich, but she's married to a Senator. She will not even have to spend her own money with a health care plan like the one the Senator has.

    December 23, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. csh

    Best Wishes for a full recovery!

    December 23, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Trylon

    Teresa: A solis ortu usque ad occasum, laudabile nomen Domini.

    Excelsus super omnes gentes Dominus; et super coelos gloria ejus.

    From the rising of the sun, unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is worthy of praise.

    The Lord is high above all nations; and His glory above the heavens.

    December 23, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Steven Z

    I wish for you good health and a fast recovery. I also suggest you lookseriously into the Koffler Breast Cancer clinic reknown for there work in breats cancer. Feel better

    December 23, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Kate

    I am a 23 year breast cancer survivor – diagnosed when i was 37 so i am outraged at the panel's age recommendations. What do they know?!?

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. God Bless and Keep you.

    December 23, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. penny

    Best wishes to her in her recovery.

    Thank goodness obamacare wasn't forced upon her and she didn't have to wait for the gov't officials to approve treatment or procedures as they do in Canada with their socialized healthcare.

    December 23, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. rachel

    Good luck Mrs Kerry.

    December 23, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Barb Lucas

    You are precisely correst, Ms. Heinz-Kerry. You are on point and your comments are well said. I trust all women who read the so-called recomendation that a woman "only get tested every other year" or leave off testing, period, will take that for what it is–someone's agenda who apparently has some financial stake in the matter.

    (Hmmmm. wonder if some lobbyist of the healthcare industry paid someone to say this.....)

    December 23, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Susan in Arkansas

    I am appalled at those individuals who felt it necessary to post such nasty, vitriolic comments. How dare you try to politicize an individual's war with cancer. I am a 10 year breast cancer survivor and understand the journey in which Mrs. Heinz-Kerry and Senator Kerry are now involved. I wish them both well. And, I feel very sorry for those folks who remain cloaked in bitterness and have absolutely no understanding of compassion and empathy.

    December 23, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Simone Taffe

    Mrs Heinz keep strong and positive. I'm praying for you as I do for all women who experience this disease – not just breast cancer but all cancers including uterine and colon cancer survivors. Stage 1 diagnosis will help you seek out all the best remedies including both chemo and radiation; don't let up and stay away from negativity. Cancer is not a death sentence; the disease will make you a stronger and more reflective person. I worked all my life until early this year when I Iost my job and primary medical insurance. The last day of work when I was supposed to be clearing out my desk I was seeking emergency medical advice from my doctor who told me nothing was wrong but my gut told me to seek another doctor 's advice who in essence diagnosed my condition – but like you, it was caught in the nick of time. Between the time of my diagnosis and my surgery, I stayed away from negative comments I continue to seek other employment and read many books when the medical bills and threat of foreclosure threaten to erode my confidence, I continue to fight back and follow up with my doctors. Thank God for Medicare , a Public Option, because I would probably not have been able to get the good medical care here in South Florida if I was without it.because having lost my job, I also lost the benefit of the government agency"s insurance. Well, just think about the 40 plus million people who have no health insurance and the dread they face for not being able to be diagnosed and treated. Thanks for your foundation and the many gifts to people who struggle with hunger, sickness and deprivation. Please continue with your husband to fight for universal insurance for all.

    December 23, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. lorton

    Teresa I am truly so sorry to hear you have stage one cancer. i wish you a fast and full recovery. May God bless you and your family.

    December 23, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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