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Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- Congresswoman has breast cancer

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) is urging women to get mammograms early and often.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz is making the rounds, urging women under 40 to get mammograms early and often.

The Florida Democrat, who gained national notice speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, went on Good Morning America to talk about the need for early detection in increasing breast cancer survival rates.

She knows -- Wasserman Schultz has undergone seven surgeries for breast cancer in the past year alone.

From a New York Times article :
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, kicked off a breast cancer awareness campaign today with disclosures of her own that hadn’t been widely known before now.

The congresswoman revealed over the weekend that for the last year, she had battled breast cancer and had undergone seven major surgeries, including a double mastectomy and removal of her ovaries, all without skipping most beats on Capitol Hill or public events at home during her re-election in campaign. She disclosed her battle — including her decisions to have such cancer-prone areas removed because of a genetic predisposition — to the Miami Herald on Saturday, and during an interview this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Ms. Wasserman Schultz, who is in her early 40s, said she didn’t release the news publicly for a few reasons. “I really wanted to make sure that I could protect my children; they were 8 and 4,” she said in the interview She has twins who are now 9.

Elected to her third term while she was privately dealing with the illness and surgeries, she also didn’t want her identifying “tag line” to be “congresswoman battling breast cancer,” she said. Much of her surgery was scheduled during congressional breaks, she said in the interviews, indicating that she’s well now but would be taking Tamoxifen for several years.

Rather, she waited until just before rolling out her initiative today to promote an educational campaign aimed at younger women, in their 20s and 30s, in an effort to counter the prevailing 40-plus emphasis on when to get mammograms regularly. Younger women tend to think they’re invincible, she said, so she hopes that she can push for legislation that would enhance knowledge among younger women, too.
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