Claire McCaskill, senior Democratic senator from Missouri, announced today (Feb. 22) she had breast cancer. In a post on her Tumblr, she explained how she plans to balance her treatment with her work load.
“I very recently learned that I have breast cancer. It was detected through a regular mammogram. It’s a little scary, but my prognosis is good and I expect a full recovery. I will be in St Louis for the next 3 weeks receiving treatment. During this time my staff will continue to assist Missourians and I will be posting on my Senate website (McCaskill.senate.gov) how I would have voted on any matters that come before the Senate during my absence—which I’ll also enter into the Congressional record. Additionally, I’ll be submitting questions in writing for any missed Senate hearings.”
One in eight American women will experience invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Many deaths from breast cancer, especially among minorities, result from misinformation, bad education on the subject, which makes McCaskill’s post about her illness an important statement. And her openness about planning work and life during treatment comes at a time when debates about health and work-life balance in the US, especially for high-powered women, are particularly heated.
McCaskill is known for being candid and unrelenting in her fight for women’s issues, such as her mission to reform the way the military handles sexual assault cases. She was the first state lawmaker in Missouri to have a baby while in office, and was the first woman to be elected Jackson County Prosecutor.