She was diagnosed with a noninvasive form of the disease, and doctors have told her the prognosis is excellent.
Navratilova revealed the news to People magazine and Good Morning America. She said she cried when her biopsy came back positive after a mammogram in February, calling it “my own personal 9/11.” She had a lumpectomy in mid-March and will begin four-to-six weeks of radiation treatment in May.
“It knocked me off my ass, really,” she told People. “I feel so in control of my life and my body, and then this comes, and it’s completely out of my hands.”
Navratilova admitted she fell behind on regular breast exams and urged women to get checked every year.
“I went four years between mammograms,” she told People. “I let it slide. Everyone gets busy, but don’t make excuses. I stay in shape and eat right, and it happened to me. Another year and I could have been in big trouble.”
Doctors diagnosed her with a form of the cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS, which means the cancer is confined to the milk ducts and has not spread to the surrounding tissue. Navratilova’s friend, Dr. Mindy Nagle, said: “It was the best-case scenario you could imagine for detecting breast cancer.”
Navratilova is a health spokeswoman for AARP, and said in a statement: “The day I was told I had breast cancer was my own personal 9/11. I was completely shocked and the news knocked the wind out of me. This is a huge wake-up call for me and just goes to show no matter how much you watch what you eat or exercise you just never know.
“Here I am, the health and fitness ambassador for AARP, speaking to millions each month about staying healthy and I let my annual check-ups fall to the bottom of my to-do list. It’s not all about eating right and exercising. Preventative steps can make just as much, or in some cases more, of a difference. Getting my mammogram literally saved my life.” The Miami Herald