Teresa Heinz has revealed she's fighting breast cancer.
The wife of former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) was diagnosed and treated for stage one cancer in both breasts and has had two operations to battle the disease, Heinz, 71, wrote in an op-ed to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday.
“The cancer was detected at an early stage thanks to a mammogram and the work of a remarkable physician who insisted on investigating beyond what the mammogram could show,” Heinz wrote.
Her prognosis for a full recovery is “good,” she added.
Heinz's decision to open up about her cancer after having kept the news private for two-months was prompted by opposition to new mammogram guidelines from the U.S. Preventative Service Task Force that advise against mammograms for women below age 50 and those more than 74-years-old.
“As any woman can attest, mammograms can be nerve racking. And as the government's task force pointed out, they can produce misleading results and anxiety," Heinz wrote. "But I've been personally reminded that they also can produce something else: a lifesaving early diagnosis.
She said she hoped her story might persuade other women to continue to “get that mammogram.”
“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,” Heinz wrote. “My message is simple: That mammogram appointment? Keep it. And make your appointment for next year while you're at it.”