MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar revealed Thursday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and underwent radiation treatment while working on major pandemic and economic legislation.
“Like anyone, when you get that first call it’s scary, but I made a plan. I have incredible doctors and nurses, and I came through it,” she told WCCO’s Esme Murphy. “But in the course of it I found out that thousands of women have undetected breast cancer right now, and one in three Americans are not moving forward with routine physicals during the pandemic.”
In a Medium post, the senator wrote that she was diagnosed with Stage 1A breast cancer following a mammogram at the Mayo Clinic in February. Shortly thereafter, she underwent surgery to remove some of the cancer before being put on radiation treatment.
In August, doctors determined that the treatment went well.
“Of course this has been scary at times, since cancer is the word all of us fear,” Klobuchar wrote, “but at this point my doctors believe that my chances of developing cancer again are no greater than the average person.”
The Democratic senator said that during the radiation treatment she was working on major pandemic and economic legislation while also chairing the joint Senate Jan. 6 investigation.
“I truly believed at that moment in time when we had all of these hearings and investigations into the attack on the capitol, the voting bill that I had to get through committee, that I had to keep moving through this whole thing and not make myself the story,” Klobuchar said.
At the same time her father Jim Klobuchar was in his final stages of a long battle with Alzheimer’s. He died in May.
“I felt I had an obligation to take care of my dad and also I didn’t want the focus on me,” she said.
Klobuchar, 61, says her experience with cancer gave her time to reflect on her life and people she loves.
“It also gave me renewed purpose to my work,” she said. “I have immense gratitude for my family, friends, colleagues, and the people of Minnesota, and I know that each day is a gift.”
Like so many people, the senator had put off her routine screenings because of COVID-19 and everything else going on in her life, and she wants her story to be a reminder to everyone to get checked.
“Get your physical exams, get your screenings, women get your mammograms because you just don’t know what is lurking there,” she said.
She said she was fortunate that doctors still found the cancer at an early stage and chemotherapy and other treatments were not needed.