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Tennis legend Martina Navratilova says she has breast cancer

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Legendary tennis star has breast cancer
  • Martina Navratilova: Cancer has been surgically removed, radiation treatment is next
  • Nine-time Wimbledon champ says she has noninvasive form of breast cancer
  • "I'm very hopeful," she says in interview shown on "Larry King Live"
  • Some medical sources say survival rate for this cancer approaches 100 percent

(CNN) -- Nine-time Wimbledon tennis champion Martina Navratilova said Wednesday she has breast cancer.

Navratilova said she has a noninvasive form of the cancer, called ductal carcinoma in situ, that was detected during a mammogram. The cancer was surgically removed in a procedure called a lumpectomy. Navratilova will undergo radiation treatment, she said.

"I'm very hopeful," the tennis legend said in an interview shown Wednesday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."

DCIS, as the cancer is commonly called, has a 95 percent survival rate, Navratilova said. Some medical sources say the survival rate is even higher, approaching nearly 100 percent.

In DCIS, abnormal cells multiply and form a growth within a breast milk duct. The cancer is noninvasive, which means it originally doesn't spread out of the milk duct to other parts of the breast.

It is considered the earliest possible clinical diagnosis of breast cancer. If left untreated, about 30 percent of women with DCIS will develop invasive breast cancer an average of 10 years from the initial occurrence, the Breast Cancer Network of Strength says on its Web site.

Navratilova, 53, said she skipped her mammogram for several years. She urged women to get the test done regularly.

Born in Czechoslovakia, she defected to the United States in 1975.

Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, a record 31 Grand Slam women's doubles titles and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. She advanced to the Wimbledon singles final 12 times, including nine consecutive years from 1982-1990.

Navratilova won the Wimbledon women's singles title a record nine times.