Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on Thursday revealed she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and underwent treatment that reduces her odds of recurrence to “no greater than the average person.”
Klobuchar, 61, a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said Mayo Clinic doctors found small white spots during a routine mammogram in February. A biopsy showed she had stage 1A breast cancer.
“After a number of other tests, I returned to Mayo and had a lumpectomy on the right breast which involved the removal of the cancer,” she wrote on Medium. “In May, I completed a course of radiation treatment, and after additional follow-up visits, it was determined in August that the treatment went well.”
She added: “At this point my doctors believe that my chances of developing cancer again are no greater than the average person.”
She encouraged others not to delay routine examinations because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I hope my experience is a reminder for everyone of the value of routine health checkups, exams, and follow-through,” she wrote. “I am so fortunate to have caught the cancer at an early enough stage and to not need chemotherapy or other extensive treatments, which unfortunately is not the case for so many others.”
During her presidential campaign last year, Klobuchar released a medical report from her obstetrician-gynecologist describing her as in “very good health.” She underwent screenings for diabetes, thyroid disease, anemia and cancer, and her breast exam reportedly was normal.
As a senator, Klobuchar has worked to increase federal funding for breast cancer awareness. She spearheaded efforts to educate young and high-risk women about breast cancer and prevention under the Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act.
Breast cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms, which do not always appear, can include a breast lump or thickening, a breast changing size, shape or appearance, changes to the skin, such as dimpling, peeling, scaling or flaking, a nipple inverting, or redness or pitting of the skin over the breast.
Regular self-examination and breast cancer screenings are encouraged as early detection measures. Women aged 45 to 54 are recommended to get a mammogram annually to detect cancer before symptoms appear, according to the American Cancer Society.
“Breast cancer that’s found early, when it’s small and has not spread, is easier to treat successfully,” the cancer society says on its website. “Getting regular screening tests is the most reliable way to find breast cancer early.”