Friday, March 11, 2005

Elizabeth Edwards Has Lumpectomy

Edwards has surgery for breast cancer

Outlook `very positive,' husband says in e-mail

Staff Writer

Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Democratic Sen. John Edwards, underwent a successful lumpectomy at a Boston hospital for treatment of her breast cancer this week.

"The prognosis continues to be very positive," John Edwards announced in an e-mail Thursday. "Each step in Elizabeth's treatment proves that she is a fighter and that she is going to beat this."

Elizabeth Edwards, 55, had surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, where her diagnosis was confirmed last November, the same day her husband and his running mate, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, conceded their loss in the presidential election.

In the last few weeks, Edwards has undergone chemotherapy at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington.

Her condition was originally diagnosed by her Raleigh physician shortly before the election, though not made public until later. She was found to have invasive ductal cancer, the most common type of breast cancer. It can spread from the milk ducts to other parts of the breast or beyond.

The current five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 87 percent, up from 78 percent in the mid-1980s. About 40,000 women die of breast cancer annually.

During the presidential campaign, and especially in the months since her husband was chosen as Kerry's running mate, Edwards won a national following as a woman who comes across as more real than most political wives.

In the e-mail to supporters, John Edwards acknowledged the outpouring of support to his wife.

"Every note, every e-mail, every kind word we have received has held us up and given us strength," he wrote. "And we are blessed to be surrounded by a loving family, supportive friends, and the best health care in the world."


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