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Barbara Grassley, breast cancer survivor: “Just keep on getting checked!”

August 16, 2021

Mrs. Barbara Grassley is a breast cancer survivor and the wife of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). She is a longtime member of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program Executive Council and co-chair of the Health Awareness and Screening booth from the Prevent Cancer Foundation and John Stoddard Cancer Center at the Iowa State Fair for more than a decade.

Barbara Grassley, wife of Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, is a longtime breast cancer survivor and screening advocate. Mrs. Grassley first learned of her cancer in 1987 when she noticed a large lump in one of her breasts and went to see her doctor to get checked. She later found out it was breast cancer. Mrs. Grassley received a radical mastectomy in one breast and a lumpectomy in the other and has been cancer-free since.  

Barbara Grassley - Iowa State FairSince 2008, Senator and Mrs. Grassley have co-chaired the Health Awareness and Screening booth at the Iowa State Fair, in partnership with the Prevent Cancer Foundation and John Stoddard Cancer Center, to provide cancer education and screening to Iowans.

“When people come up to me [at the state fair] to say hi, a lot of them don’t know that [I’m] a survivor,” Mrs. Grassley said. “[They] think that I’m here just because I’m a senator’s wife. It’s because I’m a survivor. That’s why I’m here.”

 The main message Mrs. Grassley wants to impart to others is the importance of getting routine cancer screenings.

“It’s important, period. That’s why I’m still here and we do what we do,” Mrs. Grassley said.

In their partnership with the Prevent Cancer Foundation and John Stoddard Cancer Center at the Iowa State Fair, Mrs. Grassley said she and her husband value the work to spread awareness of cancer screening and the importance of early detection.

“I’m just so glad people stop [at the booth] because who knows with that little nagging feeling that you get. If it’s nothing, that’s great, but if it is [something], then good for you for checking in time,” Mrs. Grassley said. “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and just keep on keeping on. It’s better to catch it early than to wait.”

As people get their screenings rescheduled from pandemic cancellations and delays, Mrs. Grassley said she hopes people don’t hesitate and are able to get back on schedule. She believes everyone should get their appointments scheduled and make sure their family, friends and neighbors are aware of the importance of screening as well.

“Well, you know, it never hurts to encourage your neighbor either. Say to them you’re having your check up and ask, ‘When is yours?’” Mrs. Grassley said. “Just a little nudge here and there… Just keep on getting checked!”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prevent Cancer Foundation and John Stoddard Cancer Center will not have a booth at the 2021 Iowa State Fair. The Foundation encourages all Iowans—and everyone—to get their routine cancer screenings Back on the Books as soon as possible.

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