Thursday, October 10, 2013

Betty Ford Discloses Her Breast Cancer

A Pol Light Encore for Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Original Post: February 17, 2012

Photo of Betty Ford

Pol Light Moment #3 occurred in September, 1974, when Betty Ford shared about her diagnosis of breast cancer. Betty Ford (1918-2011) was the First Lady of the United States while her husband Gerald Ford served as the 38th President of the United States from August 9, 1974-January 20, 1977.

On September 28, 1974 (just a few weeks after becoming First Lady), Betty Ford had a mastectomy for breast cancer. She decided to go public with her health condition in order to raise public awareness of breast cancer. It should be noted that in the 1970's it was less common for political leaders to share this type of personal information. This event led the United States to greater public awareness of this cancer and the critical prevention screening.

Betty Ford lived into her 90's and became a 37 year survivor of breast cancer. Jody MacGready said, "By her mere survival, she showed that early detection keeps you alive and to pay attention to your own body (Breast Cancer Survivors Embrace Betty Ford's Legacy of Courage, Hope, MLive)."

Here is a video showing how Betty Ford's disclosure that she had breast cancer had a lasting influence on the medical treatment of the disease and specifically touched the life of Jane Boomstra who was one of the very first patients to use the Betty Ford Breast Cancer Services Center that is part of Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We apologize but this video is not available on mobile phones.

For more information on Betty Ford's survival and advocacy over breast cancer see a CNN article called Betty Ford Brought Breast Cancer Out Into the Open, that was written on July 12, 2011, around the time of Betty Ford's death.  

Pol Light does not endorse political candidates. We present a brighter side to politics when they are found on either side of the aisle. We don't have to agree with all of a person's politics to recognize these bright moments.

Photo: The photo in this post is in the Wikipedia Commons and is not copyrighted because it is an official photograph of a White House official.


  1. to read about a new cancer treatment

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    Cancer Care