LONDON, April 7- Tennis legend Martina Navratilova revealed Wednesday she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The 53-year-old, who won 18 Grand Slam titles including nine Wimbledon singles titles, said she cried after finding out she had the disease.
"It knocked me on my ass, really. I feel so in control of my life and my body, and then this comes, and it’s completely out of my hands," Navratilova told People magazine.
The disease was first detected in February after a routine mammogram revealed a cluster in her left breast.
According to the report, doctors say the former Wimbledon champion’s prognosis is excellent because the tumour was detected at an early stage.
Navratilova has already had the lump removed and will begin six weeks of radiation therapy in May.
"It was a total shock because I’ve been so healthy," she added. "I thought, ‘I’m going to lose my boob and then my hair, and I don’t have that much. There’s a good chance it won’t come back’."
The former world number one said she had intended to keep the news quiet but changed her mind when she realised she could persuade other women to go for check ups.
"The sooner you catch it, the better," she said. "So get the bloody mammogram.
"I went four years between mammograms. I let it slide. Everyone gets busy, but don’t make excuses. I stay in shape and eat right, and it happened to me. Another year and I could have been in big trouble."
Born in Prague, Navratilova fled to the United States in 1975 at the height of the Cold War. She became a US citizen six years later but regained her Czech nationality two years ago, and has dual nationality.