Mayor Daley gets emotional discussing wife's cancer

December 4, 2009 4:34:47 AM PST
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley spoke publicly Thursday for the first time about the spread of wife Maggie's breast cancer to her leg.Maggie Daley's doctor said she began radiation treatment right before Thanksgiving. It will end next week.

Because of the risk of a fracture, Dr. Steven Rosen said it is necessary for Maggie Daley to keep weight off her right leg.

The mayor's office released a statement Wednesday night. On Thursday, Mayor Daley made his first public comments about his wife's latest condition.

For the past decade, Chicago's first lady Maggie Daley has been battling cancer. Over the years, there have been some setbacks that have been successfully treated. The latest diagnosis of a lesion in Daley's right leg is something her husband said she will get through as well.

"She has had many setbacks, like anything else, in all families you have setbacks. The family comes together in any setbacks and are able to defeat any setbacks you have in life," said Mayor Daley.

Mayor Daley was visibly teary as he talked about his wife's courageous battle with cancer.

"Maggie is a very kind and tough person she comes from a strong family our family as well," said Mayor Daley.

When asked if she had been stronger than him, the mayor answered, "Oh yeah, definitely."

Almost 10 years ago, Maggie Daley was diagnosed with breast cancer. The disease spread to other organs but, it had been controlled with a several different therapies. Northwestern cancer specialist Dr. Steven Rosen is treating the first lady. He says a bone lesion is very common with Daley's type of cancer. Rosen spoke to ABC-7 on the phone from a medical conference in New Orleans.

"Periodically the treatments will stop working and there will be progression of the disease that could be in different bone," said Rosen.

Dr. Rosen said the radiation treatment will target the specific area. When that is complete next week, Rosen said he will follow up with drug therapy. Dr. Rosen called Maggie Daley an inspiration to other cancer patients, especially women.

"She has been very fortunate. The majority of treatments have been successful. There is nobody better, no stronger individual," said Rosen.

While confined to a wheelchair during the treatment the mayor said his wife's latest set back has not affected her commitment to children.

She had a meeting Thursday about afterschool programs in the city.

Despite setbacks, Mrs. Daley has continued to maintain a very busy schedule during the past few years.

Earlier this year, the 66-year-old underwent a biopsy of a bone lesion. Three years ago, Mrs. Daley had surgery to remove a tumor in her right breast.

Dr. Rosen said his patient is doing well and he expects the current treatment to be successful.


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