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Katie Couric Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis: ‘Heart Stopping’

Longtime television host Katie Couric recently revealed she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. “June 21, 2022, was the first day of summer, my 8th wedding anniversary, and the day I found out I had breast cancer,” the former Today cohost, 65, wrote in an essay for her Katie Couric Media website on Wednesday, September 28.

Couric explained that she was at a routine doctor’s appointment in May when her gynecologist encouraged her to get a mammogram, since she hadn’t had one since 2020. One month later, her breast radiologist found a cancerous lump.

“I felt sick and the room started to spin,” Couric recalled. “I was in the middle of an open office, so I walked to a corner and spoke quietly, my mouth unable to keep up with the questions swirling in my head. ‘What does this mean? Will I need a mastectomy? Will I need chemo?’”

Couric noted that nobody in hr family had ever succumbed to breast cancer; but others in her family had died from other types of cancer. Her first husband, Jay Monahan, died in 1998 at age 42 after a battle with colon cancer, while her sister Emily died of pancreatic cancer at age 54 in 2001. Both her parents had dealt with cancer scares, as well. The news, she said, left her in “heart-stopping, suspended animation.”

“My mood quickly shifted from disbelief to resignation,” Couric wrote. “Given my family’s history of cancer, why would I be spared? My reaction went from, ‘Why me?’ to ‘Why not me?’”

The former news anchor said the most difficult part of the early process was telling her adult children, Ellie, 31, and Carrie, 26, about her diagnosis.

Thanks to modern medicine, Katie Couric’s cancer battle may not have a tragic ending

“Finally, four days after I was diagnosed, I FaceTimed each of them,” the University of Virginia graduate wrote. “Their faces froze in disbelief. Then shock. Then they began to cry. ‘Don’t worry,’ I told Carrie then Ellie, ‘I’m going to be fine,’ trying to convince myself as well as them. They’d already lost one parent. The idea of losing another was unfathomable.”

Her doctors eventually removed an olive-sized tumor, and Couric began radiation earlier this month on September 7. “I was warned that I may be fatigued and my skin may turn a little pink,” she wrote. “Yesterday was my final round. My left breast does look like I’ve been sunbathing topless, but other than that, I’ve felt fine.”

Couric also noted that 45 percent of women in the U.S. — including herself — have dense breasts, meaning they often require screening in addition to mammograms. “Currently, 38 states require doctors to notify their patients if they have dense breasts,” Couric wrote. “But often that information doesn’t clearly convey the need to have a supplemental screening or this very important fact: The denser your breasts, the higher your risk of cancer.”

She finished with a word of encouragement for others who may occasionally put off preventative healthcare.

“To reap the benefits of modern medicine, we need to stay on top of our screenings, advocate for ourselves, and make sure everyone has access to the diagnostic tools that could very well save their life.”

What do you think?


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