“At the end of August, I was diagnosed with a very early and treatable form of breast cancer,” the secretary wrote. “It is 98 percent curable, and my doctors expect a complete recovery following treatment. I fully expect to perform the responsibilities of my position during treatment.”
Veneman said she will begin treatment, which will include a lumpectomy, this week, followed by six weeks of radiation. “While I will not be able to travel for several weeks, I am extremely confident that our very capable sub-cabinet will ably substitute.”
The form of the cancer, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), is very small in size and localized, she said. “This cancer could not have been detected without a mammogram, which only highlights the importance of preventive screening for early detection.”
Later today, she joined President Bush at the White House for an awareness event with cancer survivors. The president stressed the importance of prevention, regular health check-ups and examinations.
“The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and particularly during this time, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of regular check-ups and mammograms,” Veneman wrote. “Early detection can make a significant difference in your life. There is a great deal of information available regarding breast cancer, and I encourage you and your families to learn more about this important health issue.”
The secretary said that while being diagnosed with cancer is not easy news to accept, “I am grateful that it was not more serious and that with appropriate treatment, a full recovery is expected.
“I am also very thankful for the support of my family, friends, and colleagues and appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers.”