Politics & Government

Madeline Abramson, wife of Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, treated for breast cancer

Jerry Abramson, accompanied by his wife, Madeline, was sworn in by Kentucky Supreme Court Justice John Minton as lieutenant governor.
Jerry Abramson, accompanied by his wife, Madeline, was sworn in by Kentucky Supreme Court Justice John Minton as lieutenant governor. 2011 Herald-Leader file photo

FRANKFORT — Madeline Abramson, wife of Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson, confirmed Wednesday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

Madeline Abramson, a longtime advocate of early detection of cancers, said in a telephone interview that the cancer was discovered in April as a result of a routine mammogram and follow-up tests. After surgery and radiation treatment in Louisville, she said, her prognosis is excellent.

"I feel good and I feel healthy," she said.

Abramson, 57, said the diagnosis reinforced her firm belief in regular screenings for common cancers.

The lieutenant governor, who formerly was mayor of Louisville, said in an email that he is "extremely thankful for Madeline's positive prognosis and very proud of her for managing her diagnosis and treatment while balancing her family life and civic engagement.

"She has approached this challenge as she has every other in her life, with grace and determination, which comes as no surprise to those who know her," Jerry Abramson said. "Now, as she shares her story, her diagnosis and recovery can be a testament for other women to seek cancer screenings and to remain strong if they are battling this horrible disease."

The Democratic lieutenant governor has said he may announce by mid-August whether he will run for governor in 2015. Asked if his wife's bout with cancer has had any effect on that decision, he responded: "As I've said, I'll make an announcement soon. We're both fortunate to be healthy and have so many options for our future."

Abramson also said his wife's diagnosis was not a factor in his decision to skip this weekend's Fancy Farm political activities in Graves County. State Democratic Party Chairman Daniel Logsdon said Abramson would not be at the picnic because of a family commitment.

Madeline Abramson has actively promoted colorectal cancer awareness for many years. She said she got involved in that cause when she had a routine colonoscopy in her 40s.

"It was fine and made me realize the importance of early detection," she said.

She said the couple chose to keep the breast cancer diagnosis private until she completed treatment and recovery.

"I continue to take some medication, but that's it," she said.

Abramson said she decided to share her story in response to a Lexington Herald-Leader inquiry about her health, as well as to encourage Kentuckians to be vigilant about preventative care.

"What isn't private is the need for all Kentuckians to be aware of the availability of regular screenings for many types of cancer," she said. "Kentuckians should not delay those tests, because early detection is a critical step in successful treatment."

Abramson said she has resumed her regular public schedule, which includes work in support of the arts, at-risk teens and education.

"While breast cancer is now part of my life story, it is only one chapter," she said. "I am thankful to be healthy and strong again so that Jerry and I can continue our work to help make Kentucky healthier and stronger."