Katie Couric speaks out about surviving breast cancer: ‘I was very fortunate’

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Katie Couric has spoken out about surviving breast cancer, one year after revealing her diagnosis.

The former TV host, 66, gave an update about her health during an interview with People at the American Ballet Theatre Fall Gala on 24 October. During the conversation, she reflected on receiving her diagnosis last year, while encouraging people to get screened for breast cancer.

"I’m a living, walking example of the importance of early detection and getting screened,” she said. "I was very fortunate.”

After specifying that her cancer was caught “very, very early, when it’s most treatable,” she encouraged women to talk to their doctors when needed and to get their mammograms, which are X-rays performed on women’s breasts to screen for cancer.

“And if I can just be an advertisement for people to get screened, to get their mammography done, to talk to their doctors, and if they have dense breasts, to get additional screening,” she explained

The former Today host also acknowledged that while October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, that isn’t the only time that she’ll be candid about her health. “It’s something that I talk about all year round, but especially this month when everybody is so focused on it,” she explained.

Couric then described how she’s continued to be open about her breast cancer through different online platforms, like her social media accounts.

“I’ve been writing a lot about this in my newsletter, which goes out to a million people,” she added. “I’m trying to spread the word on social media and really every time I get a chance to talk about it I try to do that. I try to use my platform in a really positive way.”

In September 2022, Couric first shared on her website that she was being treated for breast cancer, after she was nearly two years overdue for a mammogram. In the post, titled “Why NOT Me?” she wrote that she told her gynaecologist that she would schedule a mammogram “ASAP”, before getting screened in June 2022.

Couric said that while was filming her visit, the technician asked her to stop doing so because they had found some abnormal tissue and needed to perform a biopsy. The following day, she learned that she had breast cancer.

“I felt sick and the room started to spin,” she wrote on her Katie Couric Media website. “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? What will the next weeks, months, even years look like?”

The journalist – whose first husband, Jay Monahan, died of colon cancer in 1998 – then specified that she underwent a lumpectomy on 14 July. She also noted that her doctors said that she would not need chemotherapy because the chances of her cancer returning were low. However, she would need radiation treatment.

In an update posted to her website on 26 October, Couric also opened up about how she was feeling one year after announcing her breast cancer diagnosis. “Emotionally, I felt grateful,” she said. “I felt lucky that it was diagnosed early and I had access to such high-quality medical care. I think because I dealt with such serious cancers before — where they were life-threatening and indeed life-ending — I wasn’t that impacted by this, as weird as that sounds.”

In regards to how the long-term effects of breast cancer impacted her physical health, she said that it’s “hard to tell”. However, she also noted that some of the changes she’s experienced could be a result of ageing.

“Physically, it’s hard to tell. Sometimes I think: ‘Is this because I’m older, so I get a little more tired than I used to? Or is it because of breast cancer or the aromatase inhibitors?’ I don’t really know,” Couric explained. “But in general, I feel pretty good and I still have a lot of energy.”