ST. PAUL — Minnesota's senior U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has revealed that she was diagnosed with and successfully treated for early-stage breast cancer earlier this year.
Klobuchar said in an early Thursday, Sept. 9, written statement that, like many Americans, she delayed her routine health examinations during the coronavirus pandemic. When she did go in for her regular mammogram in February of this year, doctors at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic detected "small white spots called calcifications," leading to a biopsy and diagnosis of Stage 1A breast cancer.
In her statement, Klobuchar highlighted that many Americans — including herself — have delayed routine health exams during the coronavirus pandemic, and urged others to make their appointments as soon as possible. She said she is fortunate she caught her cancer early and did not have to undergo more grueling treatments, but that "unfortunately is not the case for so many others."
"There is rarely a good time to go in for a mammogram or routine health screening," she said. "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."
Klobuchar said doctors at Mayo performed a lumpectomy to remove her cancer, and she underwent radiation therapy, which concluded in May. In an August follow-up, her doctors said the surgery and radiation were successful.
"Of course this has been scary at times, since cancer is the word all of us fear, but at this point my doctors believe that my chances of developing cancer again are no greater than the average person," she said.
While undergoing treatment, Klobuchar continued her work in the U.S. Senate, working on top issues such as the infrastructure package and voting rights legislation, and chairing the Senate's joint Jan. 6 investigation. Klobuchar's diagnosis and treatment also overlapped with the illness and death of her father, famed Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar.
Klobuchar is known nationally for her bid for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination, a primary in which she campaigned as a pragmatic Midwestern Democrat capable of reaching across the aisle. She has represented Minnesota in the U.S. Senate since 2007, and as one of the Senate's high-ranking members, chairs the influential Senate Rules Committee.
Prior to winning her first term in 2006, Klobuchar served as Hennepin County Attorney for eight years. She grew up in Plymouth, a suburb west of Minneapolis. She has been married to her husband John Bessler since 1993 and they have an adult daughter, Abigail.