Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Martina joins the club

Since breast cancer hits around one in eight American women, it makes sense that a share of actresses, politicians, and other celebrities will be included. Still for some reason, news that Martina Navratilova has been diagnosed with DCIS was hard to hear.

Even if you are not a tennis fan, the former champion is an icon. She had the hard task of winning over an American public that loved sweetheart Chris Evert. In terms of sexuality, style, and substance Martina was a powerful symbol for feminists.

Over the past few weeks, studies have pointed to the role of nutrition and fitness in preventing breast cancer. It's a double edged sword, while the information may be useful, it can also make us feel guilty. We fear that the cancer is a result of choices we could have made differently.

The irony is that nobody symbolizes fitness and health like Martina Navratilova. It seems unfair that even this paragon of female athletic achievement is not immune.

It's ironic, because as I struggle to get back my full range of motion under my arm, I joke I could never imagine trying to play tennis again. Who knows, maybe when Martina is done with treatment, she can show the rest of us how it's done.

Martina made her announcement on ABC's Good Morning America. Here is a link to their coverage.
Photo from AARP


  1. Cancer is caused not only by physicality but also the psychological. I don't know Martina's soul or well-being... but the stress of her life is enormous. She's a hero but she has had a lot to fight against.

  2. The good news is that Martina was diagnosed with DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ and her prognosis is excellent. At 53, she is a bit more in the usual age bracket where a breast cancer diagnosis is a little more common. It will take many years before all the factors contributing to breast cancer are discovered, but we will all keep at it. Thanks for posting this,Suzanne.

  3. Thanks for posting this, Suzanne - your point about feeling guilt and regret about our own choices and actions which may have contributed to our cancer is well made. I read a comment from Martina that she also felt perhaps less at risk because of her healthy lifestyle and her openness and frankness is welcome. A many edged sword!