Nine times Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova Keen to use her personal experience with early detection of breast cancer to help save lives.
In fact, several 2020 studies revealed an alarming number: About 50% of women postpone recommended breast cancer screenings due to COVID-19 concerns.
This is a big problem because experts agree that so is breast cancer 90% is curable if caught early.
Navratilova is being contacted jointly with holographic, a global leader in women’s health initiatives. The company is also an innovative medical technology company and a pioneer in 3D mammography. Hologic has collaborated with the Women’s Tennis Association on several major initiatives to support women’s health globally. Throughout the WTA season, Hologic makes contributions to ACEing Cancer Charitable Program WTA– A charitable program dedicated to supporting the fight against cancers affecting women.
Navratilova’s focus is on early detection and prioritizing one’s health.
“We are so busy and we do great multitasking, we do so many important things, but I don’t know what is more important than your health,” Navratilova says exclusively. Parade.com. “The sooner you find out what’s going on in your body, the better the outcome. It’s really amazing to me that we prioritize everything, but we often put ourselves last.”
Read on to find out how Martina Navratilova was diagnosed with early breast cancer screening 12 years ago and why she urges women to make their breast health and their overall health a top priority.
Let’s start with your advocacy for breast cancer awareness and what this means for you.
Well, 12 years ago, when I was 52, you threw me into this when I finally got my mammogram. They saw something, and so I had a biopsy, and then they said it shouldn’t be a thing, and then it was a thing – so it was a shock to the system. Being athletic, super healthy, and always living a very healthy lifestyle, I thought, “How is this possible?” But Cancer clearly doesn’t care about that.
When it happened to me, I realized that over four years had passed between my annual exams because I had been traveling, changing doctors, and no longer playing, so I didn’t care about my body as much as I should have, and let my annual exams slide. It was a shock, but I thought this was a good opportunity for me to try and make a difference for some women who also allow some kind of mammogram to slip in.
Related: Celebrity breast cancer survivors
Women are too busy juggling their jobs, families, relationships, and other responsibilities. Is there a message or two you’d like to share about mammograms, early detection, and taking care of themselves?
Well, women are so good at making lists because we have to have them Organizer We have to multitask. We do many different things. So, we make a list. When you get that notice about your mammogram and it’s time for your annual checkup, do you put it on the list? Would you put it first? Mostly not.
So I would say when that notification comes, put it on the list as the most important thing because it is. If you keep moving it away and keep procrastinating, it could cost you life.
It’s clear that the pandemic has prompted women to postpone mammograms and other health issues, which could have serious consequences.
Well, it is clear that the pandemic has stopped everything. Before we had a vaccine that yielded better results, when you get COVID, many women didn’t want to have a mammogram because there’s a chance that nothing happened and you could catch COVID in the hospital. So people put it on the back burner for good reasons, but I guess once the vaccinations started kicking in, there was no reason not to go and get the scan. We’re out of excuses not to go to annual checkups.
Let’s talk about your life as a role model generations From women in tennis and beyond, on and off the tennis courts.
We have a lot of role models today or even 20 years ago – 50 or 100 years ago – because at the time women were not allowed to do most of the things that men were doing. This is still the case because women are often discouraged or certainly discouraged from going into certain fields. Be it technology, mathematics or engineering. The world of man is still in many different areas. But role models are more abundant, and this is a positive sign.
There are plenty of women in positions of power, be it political or financial, celebrities or athletes. It’s still easier for girls to see themselves in those situations, which, I think, is phenomenal. They do not have to pave their own path, it is much easier to follow in someone’s footsteps. Things have changed, but we still have a long way to go. Anyway, it’s nice to be a part of pushing that ball forward for the ladies.
When you meet other tennis players, what questions do they ask you?
The funny thing is that most of them don’t ask. I still find that strange. But we may be too polite and not confident enough. Maybe they are afraid to ask the wrong question. There is no such thing. I always tell my kids that it’s better to ask too many questions than not enough. I’d rather give you too much information than not enough.
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What is your advice for the next generation of women’s tennis players?
I would say surround yourself with good people because all you are trying to achieve is a team effort. You cannot do anything alone.
Don’t be afraid of failure because you will learn from it. Follow your intuition. If you really feel like you want to do something, do it. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay because you’ll learn from it and you won’t have any regrets. And you can say, “Okay, I can do this better next time,” or you can say, “This won’t work at all and I’ll do something else.” So that’s good. This ancient expression that nothing ventured, nothing gained is very real. We only regret the things we didn’t do.
I would say you should do that and I don’t think you should cover all possibilities before you do something because chances are things won’t go according to plan anyway and you have to find a way out.
Women tend to overanalyze and we don’t volunteer to do a project the boss asks us to do so we know we can do it all ourselves. When men raise their hands and say “Oh, yeah, I can do 20% myself and ask for 80% help with this or that guy.” So don’t be afraid to raise your hand and go for it!
What was your reaction to Serena Williams’ announcement? the retirement?
Well, it’s been coming for a while. COVID sure didn’t help her because time wasn’t a friend to her either Serena Williams or Roger Federer. They weren’t able to play as much as they wanted to play and were growing up. It was expected, but still sad. It’s the end of an era, a huge era. You know it’s coming but it’s still like, “Really?” I’m kind of used to having Serena and the new generation stepping in, but she still leaves a big hole.
During difficult times in your life and career, what do you think helped you persevere?
For me, the love for sports really came through. There was never a time I didn’t want to play tennis. I think it is important for people to do what they love and it will be achieved and that way the journey is fun. I have never felt discouraged or depressed. If I lose a lot of matches, I just wanted to know how I can improve. I’ve always enjoyed this process, which is why it’s never been a big deal for me when things haven’t been going well.
How important is making connections in your opinion? Do women find their own version of the so-called “big boys club”?
It’s a competitive sport, but I feel in the world of business, tennis, and in life, the old boys network has always helped each other. Then when we found women connecting and communicating and wanting to help each other.
How important is that in your opinion?
I think it is huge. It is important to get help and provide assistance. It is important for women who have reached somewhere to step down from the next generation. I think women do that mostly. We still get this picture of us being catty and pushing women down and not helping women enough. I’m sorry, how many men help every other man? no one. Everyone wants to move forward. But when a guy kicks another guy, it’s really hard. But when a woman does that, she’s a bitch. Again, there is a different measuring stick for women and men.
Now that we have more women in positions of authority who can help, I think most of them do. And they want to move it. They want to pass it on to their children, they want to pass it on to the next generation within their company. Most of them, anyway. The good ones do.
Again, it’s good to have women in those places now. We still need more. Like in the boardroom. Most companies don’t have enough women on their boards of directors, and they don’t have enough diversity within their companies. How are they supposed to help their constituents or clients when the client base is so diverse but the people who make the decisions are all old white men? Welcome? I think for the most part, women do a really good job. What I see is that the women I’ve seen in those positions of power are doing an amazing job with the new generation of women.
What does it mean to you that you are still an inspiration to people after all these years?
I think this means that when athletes speak, people tend to listen more than when business leaders or other celebrities speak. We were athletes first. We became famous because we were great athletes. We advanced because we were better than the other guy. We didn’t get there because someone liked us, or because we looked good, or because we knew someone.
Athletes are earning their spot in the spotlight, and I think that’s why the general public seems to listen to us more. This means we have a great platform, so I try to use it for the best. This means that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I know I saved some lives because of it because I got direct responses from people who said, “Thank God, I listened to you and went for a mammogram, and while they found out about breast cancer, I’m fine.” This means the world.
Do you play tennis these days?
I will play again once the weather gets cooler in Florida. It’s very hot now.
If you had a few hours to relax, how would you spend it?
skiing. The best ski powder and virgin powder. I love to skate, that’s what I’ll do. There is nothing like it. It’s like floating on clouds, weightless, going down a mountain at 20 or 30 miles per hour.