Fri, Apr 09, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Navratilova tells of battle with breast cancer

‘DON’T PUT IT OFF’Martina Navratilova said the life-changing diagnosis was her ‘personal 9/11’ and encouraged women to have mammograms

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , NEW YORK

Retired tennis champion Martina Navratilova said on Wednesday that she was found to have noninvasive breast cancer in February and had undergone a lumpectomy, with radiation treatment to come next month.

The early form of cancer for which Navratilova, 53, is being treated is known as DCIS or ductal carcinoma in situ.

DCIS is less dangerous than invasive breast cancer, and some DCIS lesions remain harmless throughout a woman’s life.

But there is still some risk, and the diagnosis was a frightening experience for the Czech-born Navratilova, a winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles.

“I call this my personal 9/11 because I realized my life would never be the same,” she said.

Navratilova said she made her condition public to remind other women of the importance of routine screening.

She said that after having a mammogram in 2005, she waited four years before her next one, which revealed microcalcifications in her breasts and led to her biopsy.

“I’m cancer free right now, and with the radiation they are lowering the chance of it coming back to like 10 percent or so,” Navratilova said. “Without the mammogram I would have been up a creek.”

“At first I preferred not to talk about this publicly because I don’t want people feeling sorry for me or to know really everything that’s going on in my life. But I thought this was a great opportunity to encourage women to have that yearly checkup and get that mammogram,” she said

“Don’t put it off. I put mine off it turns out four years,” Navratilova said.

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