Elizabeth Edwards Diagnosed with Cancer

Elizabeth Edwards Diagnosed with Cancer
Sharon Farmer/ZUMA

11/04/2004 AT 02:00 PM EST

Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Mrs. Edwards, 55, found a lump in her right breast last week while on the campaign trail, spokesman David Ginsberg confirmed to the Associated Press. She received the diagnosis of invasive ductal cancer on Wednesday -- the same day her husband and his running mate, Sen. John Kerry, conceded the presidential race.

Ginsberg said after finding the lump and visiting her family doctor, Mrs. Edwards put off her appointment with a specialist to continue stumping for her husband. Dr. Barbara Smith at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston confirmed the cancer after Mrs. Edwards had a needle biopsy.

Invasive ductal cancer is the most common type of breast cancer, and it can spread from the milk ducts to other parts of the breast or beyond.

Still, spirits among the Edwards' family are high, said Ginsberg. "Everybody feels good about it, that this is beatable."

Sen. Edwards, who leaves his North Carolina Senate seat in January, said in a statement, "Elizabeth is as strong a person as I've ever known. Together, our family will beat this."

Tests are being conducted to determine how far the cancer has advanced and how to treat it.

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