Kentucky Secretary of State Elaine Walker announced Thursday she was diagnosed with breast cancer and is telling the public to help raise awareness that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Walker was diagnosed during a routine mammogram last week, where she learned after follow-up tests that the tumor was cancerous. Walker is among 3,000 women and men who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in Kentucky this year.
“It is now part of my life and my family’s lives even though, like so many people, there is no family history. The good news is that it appears that because of the early diagnosis and nature of the tumor, the prognosis is excellent,” she says.
The secretary of state’s office says Walker is in the process of meeting with doctors to determine the best course of treatment going forward. She noted that for anyone those are private and personal decisions she plans to make with her family, but that it was important for her as a public office to bring attention to the disease.
“What isn’t private is the need for all Kentuckians to be aware of the risks and treatments for breast cancer. Any cancer is frightening for anyone but this is the type that women most fear because it rocks who we are as women,” says Walker.
Walker was appointed to secretary of state after the resignation of Republican Trey Grayson, who left in January for a post at Harvard University. Walker sough to retain the office, but lost in the Democratic primary to Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Governor Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear released a joint statement praising Walker for her courage to share her personal medical issues.
From the governor’s office:
“It’s a testament to Elaine Walker’s character that shortly after her diagnosis of breast cancer, she has publicly announced her health status and is urging more Kentucky women to be screened for this disease. We understand that the cancer was caught early, and we pray for her full and speedy recovery.”