Jun 9, 2011 10:10 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Former Gov. Kathleen Blanco has been diagnosed with a rare eye cancer.
Blanco spokeswoman Marie Centanni said Wednesday that the prognosis for the Democratic former governor is good. Centanni said the cancer, called choroidal melanoma, was discovered during Blanco's eye exam last week and was confirmed by cancer specialists.
"She is in good health, her prognosis is favorable and she expects to begin treatment shortly. The Blancos are grateful for your support and ask for your prayers," Centanni said in a statement.
About six in one million people are diagnosed with the cancer, according to Centanni.
"Gov. Blanco encourages everyone, regardless of the quality of their vision, to get routine, comprehensive eye exams. This dangerous form of cancer has no symptoms and can only be detected through such an exam," she said.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal on Wednesday wished Blanco well, saying they were praying for her speedy recovery.
"The chance for recovery is excellent. (The cancer) is contained. Her faith is unshaken. Her spirit is unsinkable," said Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, who worked for Blanco when she was governor.
Sen. David Heitmeier, an optometrist, said the type of cancer Blanco has is "very treatable," though he acknowledged he's seen only about four such cases during his medical career.
Blanco served as governor from 2004 to 2008, the first woman to hold the post in Louisiana history. She was lieutenant governor for two terms before that and had been a state lawmaker. She chose not to run for a second gubernatorial term after receiving strong criticism about her response and the state government performance during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
Since leaving office, Blanco has been working on her
Updates about the former governor's condition will be postedonline at: www.caringbridge.org/visit/kathleenbabineauxblanco .