Katie Couric Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis: 'Please Get Your Annual Mammogram'

Katie Couric had a very scary summer.

On Wednesday, the media personality revealed she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June and has since been undergoing treatment. In a candid article written on her website, the 65-year-old explained how she was six months late getting a mammogram — but thank goodness she got herself into the doctor’s office when she did!

A day after getting her annual mammogram, she received a dreaded phone call from her doctor on June 21 (which also happened to be the first official day of summer and her eighth wedding anniversary), explaining:

“Your biopsy came back. It’s cancer. You’re going to be fine but we need to make a plan.”

She was receiving the shocking news during her first day back in the office since the pandemic started, so she tried to process the diagnosis as privately as possible. Katie recalled:

“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.’

So frightening, especially since her family has a long history of cancer, including her late husband Jay Monahan, who passed away from colon cancer 24 years ago. The journalist continued:

“The heart-stopping, suspended animation feeling I remember all too well came flooding back: Jay’s colon cancer diagnosis at 41 and the terrifying, gutting nine months that followed. My sister Emily’s pancreatic cancer, which would later kill her at 54, just as her political career was really taking off. My mother-in-law Carol’s ovarian cancer, which she was fighting as she buried her son, a year and nine months before she herself was laid to rest.”

Thankfully, she also had some examples of family members surviving their diagnosis, she added:

“There were better outcomes for others in my family. My mom was diagnosed with mantle cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which was kept at bay for a decade. My father’s prostate cancer, which was treated with radioactive seeds. My now-husband John had a tumor the size of a coconut on his liver, which was surgically removed just a few months before we got married.”

Still, the gravity of so many cancer diagnoses in her family weighed on her. She added:

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

While any cancer diagnosis is terrifying, the Today Show alum was reassured by her doctor’s insistence her tumor was “highly treatable,” especially since it was caught so early. She tried to cling to this positivity while speaking to her daughters, Ellie, 31, and Carrie, 26, whom she shared with Jay, about her diagnosis:

“I didn’t want to call Ellie and Carrie until I had a better idea of my prognosis. Finally, four days after I was diagnosed, I FaceTimed each of them. I tried to be as reassuring as Dr. Newman. 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.”

Such a difficult conversation to have.

In July, she underwent a “breast conservation” surgery (AKA a lumpectomy) which was successful. The likelihood of her cancer returning was also deemed “low enough to forgo chemotherapy.” To prevent cancer from coming back, she began radiation on September 7 and had her final treatment on Tuesday. She insists she has “felt fine” throughout the process. So glad to hear!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CjDGexLLTpT/

A post shared by Katie Couric (@katiecouric)

The Going There author went on to express why she’s sharing her story with the world, noting:

“Why am I telling you all this? Well, since I’m the ‘Screen Queen’ of colon cancer, it seemed odd to not use this as another teachable moment that could save someone’s life. 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.”

Katie is planning to share much more about her cancer journey as well as to discuss the latest diagnostic tools, treatments, and prevention strategies on her podcast, Next Question, in October (which is also breast cancer awareness month). You can read her full message HERE. We are sending her lots of love as she continues to heal!

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