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South Pole Doctor Who Treated Own Breast Cancer Dies

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The American doctor who diagnosed and treated her own breast cancer while on a research mission at the South Pole in 1999 has died of cancer.

Dr. Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald, 57, was the only doctor at the National Science Foundation Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station when she found a lump in her breast. Weather conditions made a rescue impossible, so she performed a biopsy on herself and then treated herself with anti-cancer drugs for months until she was taken back to the United States.

Her cancer remained in remission until August 2005. She died Tuesday at her home in Southwick, Mass., her husband, Thomas FitzGerald, said Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

Neilsen FitzGerald described her South Pole ordeal in a best-selling book that was made into a TV movie. During the last decade, she traveled the world to speak about how cancer had changed her life. She also worked as a roving emergency room doctor at hospitals in the northeastern United States.

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