Senator John Kerry’s wife, Heinz Ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz, revealed Wednesday that she has been undergoing treatment for breast cancer for the last two months. Until her article in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, she kept her illness private.
She was diagnosed and treated for two types of stage-one cancer in both breasts. The cancer was detected early she said, “thanks to a mammogram and the work of a remarkable physician.” She stated positively that, “I have had two operations and my prognosis for a full recovery is good.”
Why did she wait until now to reveal the news to the public? She stated that the revised guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force regarding mammograms motivated her to be public about something she had kept private for two months. She wanted to “share something deeply personal in the hope of helping others.”
Heinz’s father was a doctor. She grew up respecting the “mantra of prevention and early detection.” She stated, “as the government’s task force pointed out, [mammograms] can produce misleading results and anxiety. But I’ve been personally reminded that they also can produce something else: a lifesaving early diagnosis.
She disagrees with the task force’s decision to reduce the amount of mammograms women receive. She argues that the task force’s “recommendations forgot that women do not need more excuses not to get a mammogram at regular intervals.” She went on to explain that, “Like many of you, I have seen friends die because their cancers were detected too late. And like many of you, I suspect, I have just been given my own personal tutorial in the value of early detection.”
Her message is simple: “That mammogram appointment? Keep it. And make your appointment for next year while you’re at it.”