Martina Navratilova Receives Cancer Diagnoses, Jill Biden to Have a Skin Lesion Removed and More


From tennis star Martina Navratilova’s two cancer diagnoses to First Lady Jill Biden undergoing Mohs surgery to have a suspicious lesion removed and musician deaths, here’s what’s happening in the cancer space this week.

Former tennis pro Martina Navratilova was diagnosed with throat and breast cancer.

Martina Navratilova, one of the most decorated female tennis players, recently received two unrelated cancer diagnoses: throat and breast.

Navratilova, who has won 59 major titles in the 1970s and 1980s, was diagnosed with throat cancer after noticing an enlarged lymph node on her neck during the Women’s Tennis Association finals last year. The swollen node turned out to be stage 1 throat cancer.

Later, tests for her throat cancer revealed a tumor in her breast, marking Navratilova’s second breast cancer diagnosis after being diagnosed in 2010.

"The prognosis is good," her agent Mary Greenham said in an email to NPR. "Both these cancers are in their early stages with great outcomes."

Jill Biden will have a lesion removed after undergoing a skin cancer


A small lesion was found over First Lady Jill Biden’s right eye during a routine skin cancer screening and will be removed next week, according to a statement issued from the White House.

First Lady Jill Biden, in a white dress, speaking in front of a gray background that says "CURE"

Jill Biden spoke at the CURE®’s fifth annual MPN Heroes gala in 2017.

“On Wednesday, January 11that Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the First Lady will undergo a common outpatient procedure known as Mohs surgery to remove and definitively examine the tissue,” Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor, physician to the president, wrote in the statement. “We will offer an update after the procedure is completed and we have more information.”

Biden, aged 71, is no stranger to the cancer space. Both her parents died of cancer, as did her and President Joe Biden’s son, Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015. This launched the First Couple into advocacy work, including launching the Cancer Moonshot and speaking at CURE®’s fifth annual MPN Heroes gala.

Modest Mouse drummer died soon after announcing his cancer diagnosis.

Jerimian Green, the drummer for the rock band, Modest Mouse, died after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, the band announced on Instagram. Green, who was a founding member of the band, was 45, and announced his diagnosis only four days before his death.

"I don't know a way to ease into this: Today we lost our dear friend Jeremiah," the band wrote in an Instagram post on New Year's Eve. "He laid down to rest and simply faded out. I'd like to say a bunch of pretty words right now, but it just isn't the time. These will come later, and from many people."

Senator Bob Casey was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat, announced that he received a prostate cancer diagnosis last month, but expects to continue his duties with “minimal disruption.”

"While this news came as a shock, I can report that I have an excellent prognosis, as well as the benefit of exceptional medical care and the unwavering support of my family,” Casey, aged 62, said in a statement. “In the coming months I will undergo surgery, after which I am expected to make a full recovery.”

Anita Pointer of The Pointer Sisters died of cancer.

Anita Pointer, who was a founding member of the Grammy-winning R&B group, The Pointer Sisters, died of cancer at the age of 74, according to her publicist, Roger Neal.

The Pointer Sisters — which consisted of siblings Bonnie, June and Anita Pointer — released their first album in 1973, before winning three Grammy Awards and 13 US Top 20 Hits, including “Fairytale,” “Slow Hand,” “Neutron Dance” and “Jump,” between 1973 and 1985.

“While we are deeply saddened by the loss of Anita, we are comforted in knowing she is now with her daughter, Jada and her sisters June (and) Bonnie and at peace,” Pointer’s family said in a statement. “Heaven is a more loving beautiful place with Anita there.”

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