Kentucky Secretary of State Elaine N. Walker today publicly announced that she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this month. Wearing a pink suit to mark October’s designation as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she told reporters in her Capitol office that she would complete the remaining 2 ½ months of her term as she undergoes treatment.
“Last week, as a result of a routine mammogram and follow-up tests, I learned that I am one of the nearly 3,000 women and men who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Kentucky this year,” she said. “It is now part of my life and my family’s lives even though, like so many people, there is no family history. The good news is that it appears that because of the early diagnosis and nature of the tumor, the prognosis is excellent,” she added.
Walker said she’s in the process of meeting with physicians to determine the best course of treatment going forward and noted that for anyone, those are private and personal decisions she plans to make with her family. Her husband Dorian, with whom she owns a film production company in Bowling Green, was with her when she informed her office staff and made the news public. “What isn’t private,” she said, “is the need for all Kentuckians to be aware of the risks and treatments for breast cancer. Any cancer is frightening for anyone but this is the type that women most fear because it rocks who we are as women.”
She noted Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear’s declaration for October, the continuation of the annual Celebration of Hope luncheon after the Kentucky Derby and Mrs. Beshear’s creation of “Horses and Hope,” an effort to provide screening and information for women involved in the horse industry who often lack health insurance or are underinsured.
“Early detection is essential to reduce the severity of breast cancer,” she said. In addition to her remarks, she distributed information about self-examination, screening guidelines and website addresses for more information.
“I ask that we all do what we can to share information about breast cancer awareness this month and all year round. The more we know, the sooner the disease can go into the annals of medical history,” she said. She plans to maintain a full office schedule, particularly with the 2011 general election and the launch of Kentucky Business One-Stop web portal in the near future. “I have two and a half months left in my term, and I can assure you that I intend to forge ahead with key projects in motion.”
Walker, 60, said she chose to make the information public to encourage more women to do routine self-exams and to get mammograms.
For more information on breast cancer, please contact your health department or the Kentucky Cancer Program at http://kycancerprogram.org/.
For more information about Horses and Hope and how to get involved, visit www.horsesandhope.org.
Kentucky's First Lady urges breast cancer awareness
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