Gov. Lingle gets good news, no breast cancer found


POSTED: Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gov. Linda Lingle got the news she wanted yesterday as her doctor, Mari Nakashizuka, reported that she did not have breast cancer.

It was the second cancer scare in seven years for the 55-year-old governor. Yesterday she announced at a news conference that a biopsy done Thursday showed that while she had some atypical cells, none of them was cancerous.

Lingle underwent a similar biopsy on her right breast in November 2002, after she won election to her first gubernatorial term but before she took office. The result turned out to be negative.

“;I am relieved to report that the governor does not have breast cancer,”; said Nakashizuka, a Honolulu surgeon who graduated from New York University School of Medicine in 1988.

Lingle had a routine mammogram last November that caused doctors to order another one in January and then a biopsy later in January. Thursday, Lingle underwent a more extensive biopsy that removed a small portion of her right breast.

Last week's biopsy revealed an “;atypical precursor to cancer,”; according to Nakashizuka. That second biopsy showed the governor to be cancer free, although the “;atypical cells”; remain.

“;It increases her risk for breast cancer compared to the general public,”; Nakashizuka said.

Women, Nakashizuka said, have a 1-in-8 chance of developing breast cancer during their lives, so “;being a woman with or without a risk factor is something of a concern,”; she said.

Lingle said she feels in good health and after the news conference was heading to the Nuuanu YMCA to work out, although the regular swimmer is under doctor's orders to stay out of the water for several weeks.

Nakashizuka called Lingle “;a calm, cool and collected”; patient.

Lingle herself volunteered that “;I was a good patient,”; although she said she tried to have all the procedures postponed until the end of the current legislative session.

“;Dr. Nakashizuka recommended that I not wait, but I appreciate her willingness to work with me and her schedule,”; Lingle said.