Pa. Senate Maj. Leader Ward announces stage one breast cancer diagnosis

Pa. Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland (Facebook photo).

After being diagnosed with stage one breast cancer earlier this year, the No. 2 Republican in the state Senate says she will undergo surgery to treat and prevent the disease.

Sen. Kim Ward, R-Westmoreland, announced the diagnosis, which she received in December, during a Tuesday interview with Pittsburgh radio host Marty Griffin of KDKA-AM. She said she has been receiving treatment over the last few months and plans to undergo a mastectomy and reconstruction; however, she did not give a timeline.

“I didn’t want to be statewide news right after I won majority leader, with all that statewide news,” Ward said. “It was literally two weeks later.”

Ward is the first woman in state history to serve as majority leader in either the Senate or House of Representatives.

Breast cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. 

Ward, who said she will use her experience to advance the healthcare system, could receive lifetime healthcare benefits from the state as a lawmaker.

“You are responsible for your healthcare. You have to take control of this, so that’s my message — is to be vigilant,” Ward said. “If you think you can’t pay for something, you need to call your hospital or call your clinic because there are ways to pay for things.”

Marley Parish
A Pennsylvania native, Marley Parish covers the Senate for the Capital-Star. She previously reported on government, education and community issues for the Centre Daily Times and has a background in writing, editing and design. A graduate of Allegheny College, Marley served as editor of the campus newspaper, where she also covered everything from student government to college sports.