March 22, 2009

Florida politician tells of cancer battle

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida has disclosed she has successfully battled breast cancer for the past year.

The 42-year-old Democrat told The Miami Herald she has decided to share her experience in hopes of telling younger woman that breast cancer is prevalent in her age group.

"Young women go skipping along through their life, thinking they're invincible, not worrying about breast cancer because they think of it as an older woman's disease,'' Wasserman Schultz said.

The newspaper said she will introduce legislation Monday that calls for a national breast cancer education campaign targeting women between 15 and 39.

I wanted to be able to not just stand up and say 'I'm a breast cancer survivor,' ... I wanted to find a gap and try to fill it, she was quoted by the Herald as saying.

The newspaper noted that in the past year, the congresswoman has had seven major surgeries, including a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

The procedures came as she was serving as a chief fundraiser for House Democrats and a political surrogate during the 2008 presidential race, first for then-Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York and then for now-President Barack Obama.