Breast cancer was not talked about
Betty Ford didn’t have just any cancer, either. This was a time when breast cancer was embarrassing, never talked about – a “hush-hush” topic. Dottie Wiersma remembers well. Two years earlier, she’d been diagnosed and quietly underwent a radical mastectomy – the complete removal of her cancerous breast. Lymph glands, muscle and every bit of her mammary glands were gone. It was hard to raise her arm. She had to wear a prosthesis – an awkward artificial breast so that her disfigurement was disguised. And she did not talk about it.