(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
I'm definitely not a John Kerry fan, but I wish John and his wife the very best in this fight against a terrible disease. May you have a speedy and complete recovery.
I wish her well. She only has stage one so that is very good news. I have survived for almost 8 years with stage 2 breast cancer. Most of us are not as lucky as she is to have the type of Insurance that she and her husband carries. Under the Democrats plan I'm not sure if I will last another year. If Medicare care takes a hit then I will be doomed.
At 67 I get a mammo every other year – so far so good. All you can do is stay on top of things, keep checking yourself and don't be shy about questioning the doctor. After all, your life is at stake!
Dear Mrs. Kerry,
We will pray for you. Just remain positive.
Sometimes it takes something like this to put a human face on a person. Especially a person who became a conservative target and who was so vilified during the presidential race of 2004. Some of the media painted her as hostile towards the media and nothing more than a wealthy benefactor to her husband, as if love and companionship had nothing to do with their marriage. She was considered the bankroll behind the husband candidate. It's funny how we ignore the millions or billions of dollars from Bloomburg types, but our double standards always creep in when a strong women enters the room. Some of us are so predisposed to this. I wish her the best. She has always seemed like a very strong person.
Mrs. Kerry, thank you for sharing your story with the world. I share your disagreement with the federal panel's revised recommendations about mammograms.
My family wishes you a speedy recovery and all the best this holiday season!
All my prayers and wishes are with you Teresa. With the grace of God, you WILL recover completely and be with your wonderful and graceful husband for many many years to come, AMEN.
As a breast cancer survivor of over 30 years, I wish Mrs..Kerry well and say "hang in there"With medical science and faith, women are managing to live a lot longer even after major surgery.
My best wishes to Mrs. Kerry and her family.
(Will call for my long overdue appointment now! Arrrgh!)
Teresa and John,
Good Luck and a speedy recovery.
Our thoughts are with you.
I wish you a complete recovery....may God take care of you.
I with terre Kerry all the best and my prayer is up on you and your family as a whole. God will help you and fix the disease you feel attacking you. Best wishes
Best of luck to them.
I'll bet next year's salary that she doesn't rely on Obamacare for treatment. Like in Animal Farm. . .some of us are more "equal" than others.
Amen Mrs. Heinz-Kerry! Thank you for speaking up for millions! May God bless and keep you. I wish you a speedy recovery.
As a breast cancer survivor, I too know the importance of early detection by annual mammograms. My company, has gone to 100% payment, but only every other year, which is an implied recommendation that women only need to have it done every other year. I pray every day that none of my coworkers has the horror of discovering she is in the later stages of breast cancer due to not having an annual mammogram.
I hope Mrs Kerry has a full recovery and am truly thankful that she has spoken out against the panel.
Wishing you a speedy recovery! I am glad and not surprised to see that you are treating this an opportunity to educate about this important issue that touches too many lives each year. You go girl!!
Wow some of these comments are just insane. Party affiliation is meaningless. Get well Mrs. Kerry.
Best wishes to her as she takes on the big "C".........she would have made a great First Lady!
All the best to Mrs. Kerry! She showed us what a strong and upstanding woman she is during the 2004 presidential campaign and this will keep her in good stead.
As despicable as Lurch her husband is, I wish the best for Mrs. Kerry and a complete recovery.
Our prayers go out for Teresa.
Hopefully, her comments on mamograms will be taken seriously by the federal task force (aka "death panel")
Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't remind all (in response to "rita") the vilification of another strong woman who delivered a Downs baby.
Best of luck Mrs. Kerry!
The public should be grateful for public figures like Mrs. Kerry in that she is speaking and doing what each woman should, no matter what their insurance situation- taking responsibility for her health, being well informed/educated, and ambitious to treat the disease. Early detection is key and it starts with routine self breast exams that don't cost a penny. And when it comes to insurance (or a person's lack of) people should take it as seriously as the threat of disease or major injury and do something to get it! Not wait until illness strikes only to complain they can't get the proper care that everyone else is getting. The need to acquire one's own health insurance policy should be stressed at early ages so that when children become adults it's the first thing they strive to get instead of purchasing a new TV and playstation.
I simply cannot believe the hate in here. This poor woman has breast cancer and you're making political, horrible political points over this.
Can you not just simply wish someone well without the Hate.
I wish Mrs. Heinz-Kerry the best and a quick recovery, the rest of her family the courage to face this with her and provide her with all the support that is their's to give.