Entries in Breast Cancer (7)


NJ Boy Quits Football Team over Pink Gloves

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- People across the country are rallying around a 12-year-old New Jersey boy who quit his football team after the coach refused to let him wear pink football gloves to support his mother, who is battling breast cancer.

The boy, Julian Connerton of Egg Harbor, N.J., plays for the Egg Harbor City Crusaders, a youth league.  As the team was getting ready Saturday night to play the Ocean City Junior Raiders, the coach, Paul Burgan, told Connerton he couldn’t play while wearing the gloves, the Press of Atlantic City reported.

“No one knew that there was a personal reason why the kid wanted to wear the gloves … The game was ready to begin in minutes, and it was a communication issue. There was a storm.  It was chaotic,” Louis Barrios, a member of the Crusaders Youth Athletic League Association’s board of directors, told the newspaper, adding that the team is allowed to wear pink in October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Connerton's family has said the coach was aware of the boy’s mother’s health problems as she recently had a double mastectomy.

A message addressing the issue was posted on the team’s Facebook page on Sunday.

“The Exec Board of the Crusaders Organization is aware of the unfortunate miscommunication in OC.  The board and coaches have the utmost respect for FAMILY.  We are gathering facts, and are very confident that this misunderstanding will be resolved,” the message read.

Another message followed.  The latest one, posted on Tuesday evening, said the situation had “been resolved.”

“We are looking forward to Julian returning to practice tomorrow.  All are looking forward to Julian representing The Crusaders as a breast cancer awareness spokesperson.  All are pleased the situation has been resolved,” the post read.

The incident has produced a public outcry. Some people called for Burgan to be fired or face sensitivity training.  Others demanded that Connerton receive an apology, while others said they believed the incident stemmed from a misunderstanding and had been blown out of proportion.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Author Judy Blume Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Jonathan Leibson/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- She helped a generation of young tweens find their way through puberty and adolescence in classic books like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and Superfudge, and now author Judy Blume is revealing her own cancer diagnosis to help others realize it could happen to them too.

In an entry posted on her blog today, Blume, 74, says she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma earlier this summer after undergoing a routine ultrasound as she was preparing to depart for a five-week stay in Italy.

“As I’ve told my friends who’ve also been treated for breast cancer, I’ve joined The Club — not one I wanted to join or even thought I would ever be joining — but here I am. I’m part of this Sisterhood of the Traveling Breast Cells (apologies to Ann Brashares). Medical diagnoses can leave you feeling alone and scared. When it comes to breast cancer you’re not alone, and scary though it is, there’s a network of amazing women to help you through it,” she writes.

Instead of writing in Italy, Blume, who also revealed she was diagnosed with cervical cancer 17 years ago and had a subsequent hysterectomy, found herself preparing for surgery.

“Wait – me?,” she writes in the post, titled “!@#$% Happens.”  “There’s no breast cancer in my family (recent extensive genetic testing shows no genetic connection). I haven’t eaten red meat in more than 30 years. I’ve never smoked, I exercise every day, forget alcohol – it’s bad for my reflux – I’ve been the same weight my whole adult life. How is this possible? Well, guess what – it’s possible.”

Blume, whose adult and children books have sold more than 80 million copies and hit the New York Times bestseller lists, underwent a mastectomy July 30, six weeks after she first received the diagnosis.

In describing her decision to opt for a mastectomy and reconstruction, Blume weaved perhaps her most famous book character, Margaret, into the discussion.

“I have small breasts (a la Margaret Simon),” Blume writes.  “Like Margaret I used to think bigger was better. But my dense, small breasts aged well. They stayed perky while other body parts sagged. I’d become quite fond of them. Still, the idea of mastectomy wasn’t a difficult emotional decision for me… I was focused on having as little anesthesia as possible, and the quickest recuperation.”

Today, one month post-surgery, Blume says she is at home in New York City and “feeling stronger every day,” returning to normal activities like walking, going to dinner with her husband, George, and venturing out to movies and plays.

Blume is also optimistic about her future in writing, something her millions of fans will love.

“I’m not working on my book yet (have just been given permission to type an hour at a time with arm exercises in between) but I’m thinking about getting back to it after Labor Day, kind of like starting school,” she writes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Senators Urge Komen to Reverse Planned Parenthood Funding Cut

Matt McClain/For The Washington Post(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate has added to the pressure on the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Twenty-two Democratic senators Thursday sent a letter to Nancy Brinker, the group’s founder and CEO, urging them to reconsider the decision to cut funding from Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings for the poor.

“It would be tragic if any woman – let alone thousands of women – lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack,” the letter reads. “We earnestly hope that you will put women’s health before partisan politics and reconsider this decision for the sake of the women who depend on both your organizations for access to the health care they need.”

Susan G. Komen for the Cure abruptly severed its alliance with Planned Parenthood Tuesday when Komen officials said would halt a grant program used to pay for breast cancer screenings and educational programs.

The organization argued that the move was spurred by a new criteria that bars it from giving money to organizations that are under investigation.

But the decision set off a firestorm, with Planned Parenthood blaming the decision on political influences, foremost among them Komen’s recently ascended vice president, Karen Handel, a Sarah Palin favorite who had run for governor in Georgia two years ago on a fierce anti-abortion platform.

“This troubling decision threatens to reduce access to necessary, life-saving services. We urge Komen to reconsider its decision,” the senator’s letter says.

The letter sent Thursday to the Komen foundation  is signed by Sens. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Patty Murray, D-Was., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.,  Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Max Baucus, D-Mont., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Al Franken, D-Minn. and John Kerry, D-Mass.

The full text of the letter follows:

“Dear Ambassador Brinker,

We write to express our disappointment with Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s decision to cut funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education at Planned Parenthood health centers. This troubling decision threatens to reduce access to necessary, life-saving services. We urge Komen to reconsider its decision.

Planned Parenthood is a trusted provider of health care for women and men. More than 90 percent of the services provided by Planned Parenthood are primary and preventative including wellness exams and cancers screenings that save lives. Each year, Planned Parenthood health clinics provide 750,000 breast exams, 770,000 pap tests and nearly 4 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases. Twenty percent of all women in the U.S. have visited a Planned Parenthood health center.

For the past five years, grants to local affiliates of Planned Parenthood have been an important part of Planned Parenthood’s work to protect women from breast cancer. Komen funding for Planned Parenthood has provided nearly 170,000 clinical breast exams and resulted in 6,400 referrals for mammograms. In 2011 alone, grants from Komen provided Planned Parenthood with roughly $650,000 in funding for breast cancer prevention, screening, and education. According to a recent statement by Komen, “In some areas of the U.S., our affiliates have determined a Planned Parenthood clinic to be the best or only local place where women can receive breast health care.”

It would be tragic if any woman —let alone thousands of women — lost access to these potentially life-saving screenings because of a politically motivated attack.

We earnestly hope that you will put women’s health before partisan politics and reconsider this decision for the sake of the women who depend on both your organizations for access to the health care they need.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Susan G. Komen for the Cure Cuts Ties to Planned Parenthood

Bill Clark/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Leading breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure abruptly severed its alliance with Planned Parenthood on Tuesday when Komen officials revealed they would halt a grant program used to pay for breast cancer screenings and educational programs.

Planned Parenthood, long in the crosshairs of conservative activists, blamed the decision on political influences, foremost among them Komen’s recently ascended vice president, Karen Handel, a Sarah Palin favorite who had run for governor in Georgia two years ago on a fierce anti-abortion platform.

Last year, Komen provided $680,000 to Planned Parenthood. In 2010, when Handel wrote in a campaign blog that she, “did not support the mission of Planned Parenthood” and planned to end state-sanctioned aid if elected, the foundation gave an additional $580,000. Handel’s campaign flamed out and she joined Komen last year.

Alongside her now is abortion foe Jane Abraham, board member at The Nurturing Network, a so-called “crisis pregnancy” organization dedicated to dissuading young, pregnant women from having abortions.  Maureen Scalia, a noted anti-abortion advocate and wife of the conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, sits on the TNN board with Abraham.

While Komen has not responded to the charges of political meddling, and did not return calls and email from ABC News, the foundation has publicly tagged the decision to an ongoing congressional investigation, led by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., into Planned Parenthood’s alleged use of public funds for abortion. The Hyde Amendment, a rider appended to every federal appropriations bill since 1976, bans doctors from using federal money to perform the procedures.

Komen has recently adopted a rule forbidding it from passing any money to groups under congressional investigation.

But Planned Parenthood’s leaders are not buying it.

“We know our opponents put their ideology over women’s health and lives,” Planned Parenthood of America President Cecile Richards wrote in an email to supporters. “What we never expected is that an ally like the Komen Foundation would choose to listen to them.”

The split is more bad news for Planned Parenthood, which provided an estimated 170,000 early screenings to low-income and at-risk women in the six years since the beginning of its partnership with the Komen foundation. Recent cuts to state and local budgets have made the reproductive healthcare provider more reliant on individual and corporate donors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Harry Reid's Wife Diagnosed With Breast Cancer

Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s wife of more than 50 years has been diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer.

Landra Reid, 71, was just recently diagnosed and is already receiving treatment, including chemotherapy, in Washington, D.C., Reid’s office confirmed Friday.

As Landra Reid works with doctors and specialists through her treatment, Sen. Reid will be by her side throughout the process, his office says, emphasizing that her diagnosis will not affect his work as Majority Leader.

"Senator and Mrs. Reid appreciate the thoughts and concerns expressed during this time. They ask that they be afforded the respect and privacy that any family would want,” Reid spokesman Adam Jentleson said in a statement.

The Reids met in high school and were married in 1959. They have five grown children together and 16 grandchildren.

In March of 2010, Mrs. Reid and her daughter were involved in a serious car accident, but they both fully recovered from their injuries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Elizabeth Edwards Dies After Long Battle with Cancer

Photo Courtesy - AmericanProgress [dot] org(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- After a six-year battle with breast cancer, Elizabeth Edwards succumbed to the disease Tuesday morning at age 61.

"Elizabeth Anania Edwards, mother, author, advocate, died today at her home in Chapel Hill, surrounded by her family," said a statement released Tuesday by her family. "Today we have lost the comfort of Elizabeth's presence but she remains the heart of this family."

"We love her and will never know anyone more inspiring or full of life," the statement read.

Earlier this week it was announced that Edwards, who had been admitted and then released from the hospital over Thanksgiving, had stopped all cancer treatment.

Edwards, who was estranged from her husband, one-time presidential hopeful John Edwards, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. A close friend of the Edwards family told ABC News that John Edwards was among those who were at her side during her final days.

Edwards’ cancer returned in 2007, when her husband was campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination. The stage-four cancer was deemed incurable and within a year, Edwards was fighting another battle.

In January, the couple separated after 30 years of marriage when John admitted he had fathered a daughter with filmmaker Rielle Hunter.

Born Mary Elizabeth Anania, Elizabeth Edwards grew up in Virginia as the daughter of a Navy pilot. She initially planned to teach literature, but ultimately pursued a law degree at the University of North Carolina, where she met John.

The couple had four children. Their oldest, Wade, was killed in an automobile accident in 1996 at the age of 16.

In recent years, Elizabeth authored two best-selling books and became a champion of causes involving poverty and cancer.

But always, she said, her children were her top priority: 28-year-old Cate, 12-year-old Emma Claire and 10-year-old Jack.

In her 2009 book, Resilience, Edwards wrote that she hoped to live long enough to see her three children graduate from school and, hopefully, have a grandchild. "Eight years," she wrote. "That's all I ask for...I want to walk them to the door of the next part of their lives."

Edwards' death has prompted several prominent political heads and friends to offer praise of her life and condolences to the Edwards family.

"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Elizabeth Edwards," President Obama said in a written statement.  "Through all that she endured, Elizabeth revealed a kind of fortitude and grace that will long remain a source of inspiration. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends," he added.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Elizabeth Edwards "made her mark on America, and she will not be forgotten."

A source close to the family has said that a funeral for Edwards will likely take place Friday or Saturday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


The White House Goes Pink

Photo Courtesy - The White House | Lawrence Jackson(WASHINGTON) -- The North Portico of the White House residence and the main gate to the Naval Observatory will be lit pink Thursday evening in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The lighting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.  The respective homes of President Obama and Vice President Biden will stay pink until 11:00 p.m. ET Thursday.

The White House was similarly lit pink for the first time in 2008 when George W. Bush was president.  Last year, the Obamas opted for a large pink ribbon to hang on the North Portico.

On Oct. 1, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation for breast cancer awareness month.

“As we display pink ribbons on our lapels, offices, and storefronts, we also support those courageously fighting breast cancer and honor the lives lost to this devastating disease,” the president says in the proclamation.  “During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we stand with our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends, and we recognize all who have joined their loved ones in fighting their battle, as well as the advocates, researchers, and health care providers whose care and hard work gives hope to those living with breast cancer.  By educating ourselves and supporting innovative research, we will improve the quality of life for all Americans affected by breast cancer and, one day, defeat this terrible disease.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio