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. just 5 days of radiation??

    I am surpried it is just 5 days of radiation. Generally it is 5 days a week for 5-7 weeks, and that is the standard of care for just 0 stage Cancer, also known as DCIS.

    Best of luck to Tereasa and to John, Prayers are with you both for speedy and complete recovery.

    A Massachusetts Constituent whose wife is going through the same thing.

    December 23, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Paul

    We will have you on our prayer list along with many others in ur church.
    Merry Christmas.

    December 23, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I saw my mother struggle with breast cancer for 5 years. This disease is cannibalisitc. I shudder to think that there might actually be a cure out there but the pharmaceutical companies can make more money out of the "treatment". You're in my prayers Mrs. Kerry.

    December 23, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Janet

    Teresa please know my prayers are with you and with good health care I feel that you will be fine. I surely wish you well.

    December 23, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. Terry from West Texas

    I forgot to mention in my earlier post about my friend with breast cancer...

    Her former husband, who has been ordered by the court to provide $200 a month in child support and health insurance for their son has so far provided zero, even though he has been ordered by the court THREE times do start paying. He moved to another state after each court order.

    Merry Christmas.

    December 23, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. buckwheat

    We need to feel blessed that we have the health care system we have now and the know how to treat most cancers. MY mother died in the 70's of the disease which now probably could have been treated. MY sister survived it a couple years ago and is now free of the disease we hope. I hope Mrs Kerry is also fortunate and beats the disease.

    December 23, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. Laverne

    I wondered why she did not attend the State's dinner with Senator Kerry. I am so sorry to hear Mrs. Heinz-Kerry is battling this terrible disease. I hope her God's speed in her recovery. Mammograms are very very important to women's health and I hope the recommendation for mammograms won't be compromised in any way.

    December 23, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  8. gl, From Pittsburgh

    My prayers go out to her. I am a breast cancer surviver and I found my breats cancer at the age of 41 so I am also upset with that federal panel recommendation.

    December 23, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. Travis In Colorado

    I'm not a John Kerry fan, I don't like the Kerry's, but I do wish Mrs. Heinz Kerry the best of luck, I hope that she comes out of this with flying colors, and that both she and John Kerry have a safe and healthy Christmas and New Year. Best of luck to both of them and God Speed!

    December 23, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. David

    We wish Teresa a fast, full recovery.

    December 23, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. tess

    hopefully teresa will get well and be able to return to the republican values her husband had. then she can get out and tell the world the horrors that the democrats "health" care bill will cause for even the untouchable rich people like her and the congress's wives. fitting that she might be the one to de-rail this abomination!!!!!

    December 23, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. Joe M

    No doubt Oklahoma Senator Tom Couburn will be out with another "ill wish" shortly!

    Hang in there Teresa. Good luck, God's speed and Merry Christmas.

    December 23, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Elizabeth

    I'm not really supersticious, but whatevever you do, DO NOT marry a Democratic presidential hopeful named John.

    December 23, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. Debbie

    I hope the absolute best for Mrs. Kerry.

    December 23, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. phoenix86

    Good thing she will get treatment through Obamacare. Right Senator?

    December 23, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. Vietnam Combat Veteran, Ohio

    I bet she has good health insurance. Unlike the rest of the "PEASANTS" in this country

    December 23, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Crazy Cat Lady

    Best wishes for a quick and uneventful recovery!

    December 23, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Rick CT

    Good luck to her and best wishes for a full recovery.

    I'm glad she spoke out on the federal panel recommendation. We should note however that although HHS did not endorse that recommendation, that federal panel has been granted significant powers in the health care legislation that the Senate will pass tomorrow – enough so, it may not matter what HHS thinks.

    In the interest of avoiding dangerous health care rationing and protecting younger women vulnerable to breast cancer, I would hope John Kerry would ensure this federal panel can't restrict access to mamograms and other early detection methods before the final bill is passed.

    Also hope John Kerry doesn't turn out to be a John Edwards.

    December 23, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. tony

    get well soon Mrs Kerry may God be with you and have ahappy holiday,you and your family.

    December 23, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. e. zavala

    such a lovely, gracious lady. Her kindness is evident in her face and I have been impressed from what I have read about her sincere self-giving life. I wish her & her family the best of life & blessings.

    December 23, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Republican In NC

    Mrs. Kerry Get well soon. My thoughts are with you for a speedy recovery. I once worked in medical offices with Insurance and you are so right, everyone needs to stay in good health and only with diagnostic test we can stay that way. The healthcare industry is wonderful however the Insurance companys stink.

    December 23, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Juanita

    Go Teresa! I agree with you whole heartedly. I am a breast cancer survivor and a public health professional (epidemiolgist/health educator). I found my lump by doing a breast self exam. Something that HHS is not recommending. HHS is suppose to be focusing on prevention and early detection not discouraging women from taking charge of their health!!!

    December 23, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Slider

    While no fan of John Kerry, or his wife's opinions recently, I wish her the best of care, and hope that she battles this illness with her usual aplomb.

    It should stand as a stark note to those pushing for government run healthcare how vitally real the stakes are when one's individual decisions and liberty to pursue said decisions are at the forefront of this debate.

    No government politician can, nor should make Mrs. Kerry's decisions for her.

    Our government cannot even supervise the manufacturing of H1N1 vaccines (another 5,000,000 doses are worthless recently) it cannot be expected to care responsibly for an individual's health.

    Fight on, Mrs. Kerry.

    December 23, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. R Flowers

    So in which country will she choose to receive treatment? Cuba? Great Britain? Sweden?

    December 23, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Stacie

    My prayers go out to her for a quick recovery. God Bless!

    December 23, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
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