Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco Diagnosed With Eye Cancer
Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, Louisiana's first female Governor, has been diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer.
Marie Centanni, who served as Blanco's press secretary, said a comprehensive eye exam last week raised concerns. Cancer specialists have confirmed that Blanco has choroidal melanoma in one eye. The condition affects six out of every 1 million people.
Centanni described the former governor as being in good health and having a favorable prognosis. Information and updates on her condition will be posted at www.caringbridge.org/visit/kathleenbabineauxblanco.
The condition often is discovered in people with no symptoms, but growth of the tumors can cause distorted vision or loss of vision. Doctors often observe patients with the smallest tumors, without treatment, waiting to see whether growth confirms the malignancy.
Medium-size tumors typically are treated with radiation or, in limited cases, removal of the eye. Removal is more common in patients with large tumors because the amount of radiation required to treat the tumor can be too great to spare the eye irreversible damage.
Research suggests that the eye melanomas are less likely than skin melanomas to spread to other parts of the body, an occurrence referred to as metastasis that increases mortality rates considerably.
Blanco served as governor of Louisiana from 2004 to 2008, with her tenure defined by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. She chose not to seek a second term after suffering intense criticism of how the state handled the storm's aftermath and long-term recovery. Blanco also has served as lieutenant governor, public service commissioner and a state representative.
Since leaving office, Blanco has traveled with her husband, Raymond, speaking about her experiences in hurricane recovery and discussing the role of women in politics. She is currently working on a memoir.
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