WASHINGTON, D.C. — Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, was diagnosed with breast cancer the day her husband and Sen. John Kerry conceded the presidential race.
Spokesman David Ginsberg said Mrs. Edwards, 55, discovered a lump in her right breast while on a campaign trip to Raleigh last week. Her family doctor told her Friday that it appeared to be cancerous and advised her to see a specialist when she could.
She put off the appointment until Wednesday so as to not miss campaign time. Mrs. Edwards had a needle biopsy performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where Dr. Barbara Smith confirmed the cancer, Ginsberg said.
"Only an unselfish woman, a woman who put others so much ahead of her own health and her own care would wait because it wasn't the right time to do it," said Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, Edwards' friend.
Ginsberg said the cancer was diagnosed as invasive ductal cancer. That is the most common type of breast cancer, and can spread from the milk ducts to other parts of the breast or beyond.
More tests were being done to determine how far the cancer has advanced and how to treat it, he said.
The Edwards family has overcome tough times before. They lost their teenage son, Wade, in a car accident. Friends describe Elizabeth Edwards as the anchor of the family, a supporter and motivator.
"She'll handle it brilliantly. She has strength, strength of character, strength of person and she will handle this well," said Barbara Allen, Edwards' friend.
Edwards, who leaves his North Carolina Senate seat in January, said in a statement, "Elizabeth is as strong a person as I've ever known. Together, our family will beat this."
If you would like to send cards of encouragement, you can send them to: Sen. John Edwards' Senate Office 225 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510