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Sen. Amy Klobuchar details bout with breast cancer

Klobuchar shared the news of her February diagnosis, followed by surgery and radiation in May. Her hope is to encourage people to resume physicals and exams.

WAYZATA, Minn. — U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar detailed a recent battle with breast cancer, in the hopes of encouraging people to schedule exams and physicals that were pushed off during the COVID pandemic.

In a blog posting on "Medium," Klobuchar said doctors found white spots called calcifications during a routine mammogram at the Mayo Clinic in February. A biopsy at Piper Breast Center in Minneapolis shortly after revealed that the senator had Stage 1A breast cancer.

"After a number of other tests, I returned to Mayo and had a lumpectomy on the right breast which involved the removal of the cancer," Klobuchar wrote. "In May, I completed a course of radiation treatment, and after additional follow-up visits, it was determined in August that the treatment went well."

Senator Klobuchar visited the KARE 11 studios to talk about her experience. She said she was glad she went in for a routine mammogram she had put off, due to the pandemic.

"It showed some spots, from there I had a biopsy," she said. "I kept thinking, 'ah, it's going to be fine,' and then I had this biopsy and I got the call and I couldn't believe it."

She said she was alone in her Washington D.C. apartment when she got that call.

"I called my husband of course, and then I had to go and vote in the Senate," she said. "I did know that there were a number of senators who had gone through similar things so that was in the back of my mind. So I just kept going."

While Klobuchar admitted the journey has been "scary" at times - "cancer is a word all of us fear," she said - the senator shared that doctors believe her chances of developing cancer again are no higher than for the average person. 

Klobuchar went on to thank her doctors, family and friends for their support during her radiation treatments in her post. She said this was all happening while she watched her father Jim become ill and eventually pass away. 

She said now that she has gone public with her diagnosis and treatment, she's looking forward to talking with more people about her experience.

"I will be able to talk to people," she said. "You go through this experience and it just gives you a better understanding what people are going through and renewed purpose for your work. My friend John McCain said, 'there's nothing more liberating in life than fighting for a cause larger than yourself,' and that's how this feels."

"There is rarely a good time to go in for a mammogram or routine health screening.," Klobuchar wrote in her statement. "So many Americans are still juggling their children on their laps and their laptops on their desks. They are constantly balancing their families, their jobs, and their health. It’s easy to put off health screenings, just like I did. But I hope my experience is a reminder for everyone of the value of routine health checkups, exams, and follow-through. I am so fortunate to have caught the cancer at an early enough stage and to not need chemotherapy or other extensive treatments, which unfortunately is not the case for so many others."

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