Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Martina Navratilova Has Breast Cancer

Tennis icon Martina Navratilova has breast cancer.

Luckily, her prognosis is good. And she's lucky because she admitted to getting mammograms only every four years or so.

She won Wimbledon nine -- yes nine -- times and, according to one source she "still plays tennis and ice hockey and competes in triathlons."

She is one of the faces of breast cancer, and an example of one of the fittest people on the planet. This is why it shocked her. She said, "It knocked me on my ass, really. I feel so in control of my life and my body, and then this comes, and it's completely out of my hands."

That pretty much sums up how I felt when I was diagnosed. This pretty much sums up how fit people who eat right feel when they are diagnosed. In my last Calling the Shots blog column, I challenged the fallacy that breast cancer afflicts only heavy women who don't eat right. Here's a quote that I used in that posting that pretty much says it all:

"Based on a recent 'study' by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, '25 to 30 percent of breast cancer cases could be avoided if women were thinner and exercised more.' The article specifically points to the Western lifestyle (poor diet and poor fitness) as a culprit in causing the disease."

I guess Navratilova should've been thinner, exercised more, and had a healthy diet.

Of course, I'm being facetious, but when it comes to breast cancer, women get blamed for their lifestyles -- not something that happens with men who get cancer. The three blame game devices are:

1. Blame women for being overweight.

2. Blame women for being sedentary.

3. Blame women for not bearing children or bearing them late in life.

Truth is, nobody knows exactly what causes an individual to get breast cancer.

That's why it is like a fingerprint for each women. It's time for so-called experts to stop pointing fingers.

Beth L. Gainer is a professional writer and has published numerous academic and magazine articles, as well as an essay on her breast cancer experience in the anthology Voices of Breast Cancer by LaChance Publishing. She writes about a potpourri of topics, including motherhood and her Chinese adoption experience at, and her cat Hemi blogs at Beth teaches writing and literature at Robert Morris University in the Chicago area. She has a guest posting on The World's Strongest Librarian at

She can be contacted at and


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