Betty Ford and the Stigma of Discussing Cancer

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Robert Siegel talks with Dr. Richard Wender, president of The American Cancer Society, about former First Lady Betty Ford's very public battle with breast cancer in 1974. Ford's disclosure of her disease in 1974 led to a coming out of sorts for women— no longer was breast cancer a taboo subject.

According to news accounts at the time after talking publicly about her mastectomy and the need for treatment tens of thousands of women around the country went to their doctors for screenings. It was also the moment, Dr. Wender says, when not just breast cancer, but all cancer became less of a taboo to talk about.



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