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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Martina Navratilova Reveals She Has Breast Cancer

On Wednesday, tennis legend Martina Navratilova announced she was diagnosed with a noninvasive form of breast cancer and that her doctors say that the prognosis is very good.

In an interview on Wednesday Navratilova said that a routine mammogram in January found a lump, and a biopsy showed that it was ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, which is the most common type of noninvasive breast cancer. In March, Navratilova had a lumpectomy and will start six weeks of radiation therapy in May.

"It was such a shock for me," Navratilova said. "It was my 9/11."

Wednesday in an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," Navratilova told interviewer Robin Roberts, a breast cancer survivor herself, "It is just in that one breast. I'm OK and I'll make a full recovery."

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 50,000 women each year are diagnosed with DCIS, in which abnormal cells have not left the milk duct to penetrate breast tissue. It is removed because it is a risk factor for developing invasive cancer.

Navratilova said she initially wanted to keep her diagnosis quiet but then decided she could help others by going public. She regrettably admits having waited 4 years between her mammogram appointments, when women 40 and older should be getting a mammogram every 1-2 years. Navratilova said she felt lucky that the doctors were able to catch the DCIS at such an early stage and is thankful that she hadn't waited longer to make her appointment.

Her hope is that by sharing her story with the public she will help to educate more women about breast cancer and perhaps even motivate them to get their yearly mammogram.

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