[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/23/art.heinzkerry.gi.jpg caption="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