Katie Couric shares breast cancer diagnosis, encourages regular screening
Katie Couric, at one time known as the “Screen Queen” of colon cancer, revealed on Wednesday that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2022. Typically vigilant about her health, Couric admits in a post on her website that the pandemic may have “given me a skewed sense of time.” Of her decision to share this personal journey, she writes, “If I had forgotten to schedule a mammogram, this might be a helpful reminder for other people, too.”
Receiving a cancer diagnosis was particularly traumatic for Couric: “The heart-stopping, suspended animation feeling I remember all too well came flooding back: [Couric’s late husband] 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.” Several other family members had also been diagnosed and survived, but, “Given my family’s history of cancer, why would I be spared? My reaction went from ‘Why me?’ to ‘Why not me?’”
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Couric drops some crucial breast cancer knowledge in the post: nearly half of all women have dense breasts, which often requires additional screening, and increases the risk of cancer. She also describes her treatment, which included a lumpectomy and radiation (she was able to forego chemotherapy due to a low Oncotype).
“Throughout the process, I kept thinking about two things: How lucky I was to have access to such incredible care, since so many people don’t. And how lucky I was to be the beneficiary of such amazing technology,” she shares. “It made me feel grateful and guilty—and angry that there’s a de facto caste system when it comes to healthcare in America.”
Couric is doing well after her final round of radiation (“My left breast does look like I’ve been sunbathing topless, but other than that, I’ve felt fine”), but she uses the opportunity to educate readers on the process and encourage them to seek care.
“Please get your annual mammogram,” she writes. “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.”