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Katie Couric underwent treatment for breast cancer after receiving the diagnosis in June, the veteran news anchor and journalist has shared.
In a detailed Wednesday post to her website, Couric writes about the experience of being diagnosed with the disease after unintentionally missing a mammogram, saying she last had one in 2020, and the treatment that followed.
“Had the pandemic given me a skewed sense of time?” she asked. “If I had forgotten to schedule a mammogram, this might be a helpful reminder for other people, too.”
Couric began filming the mammogram to share with her audience, as she has done with previous medical procedures as the “Screen Queen” of colon cancer, but her doctor asked her to stop filming when she said she needed a biopsy. The next day, a text came in asking her to call her doctor.
“When I called back, Dr. Drossman [at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center] picked up right away. Your biopsy came back. It’s cancer. You’re going to be fine but we need to make a plan,'” she recalls. “I felt sick and the room started to spin. 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.”
Couric recognized the feeling, as she has lost several family members to cancer, including husband Jay Monahan to colon cancer at 42, her sister Emily Couric to pancreatic cancer at 54, and her mother-in-law Carol Monahan to ovarian cancer. Her mother and father are also cancer survivors.
“Given my family’s history of cancer, why would I be spared? My reaction went from ‘Why me?’ to ‘Why not me?'” she says.
But, she notes that breast cancer was a new diagnosis for her family. (Her current husband John Molner also had a tumor on his liver removed shortly before they got married.) “During that 24-hour whirlwind, I found out that 85 percent of the 264,000 American women who are diagnosed every year in this country have no family history. I clearly had a lot to learn,” she says.
Couric and her doctor decided she would have “breast conservation” surgery on July 14, known as a lumpectomy. The surgery would be followed by radiation, which she began on Sept. 7, and medication — an “aromatase inhibitor” she would need to take for five years. She goes on to detail the procedure and the results, sharing that her staging was 1A and that her Oncotype, which measures the likelihood of the cancer returning, was 19, considered low enough to forgo chemotherapy.
“I was warned that I may be fatigued and my skin may turn a little pink,” she writes of the radiation. “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 ended her post with resources for breast cancer, as she plans to continue educating her audience during the month of October: “Please get your annual mammogram. I was six months late this time. I shudder to think what might have happened if I had put it off longer. But just as importantly, please find out if you need additional screening.”
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