Katie Couric has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The 65-year-old US TV star opened up about her health battle in a candid essay posted online in which she revealed she was given the diagnosis on 21 June - the day she was supposed to celebrate her eighth wedding anniversary with husband John Molner - and she later underwent a lumpectomy before starting radiotherapy treatment.
The former 'Today' show host described the moment she was given the results of her mammogram, writing: "I felt sick and the room started to spin ... 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."
Katie admitted she knew the feeling "all too well" as her first husband Jay Monahan, and her sister Emily Couric both previously died after battles with cancer.
She went on: "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."
However, she had some hope as both her parents as well as her current husband John have all beaten the disease in the past.
Katie 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 ...
"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?'"
Katie didn't tell her two daughters Ellie, 31, and Carrie, 26, the news of her diagnosis until four days after she found out as she was worried about their reactions because they'd lost their dad Jay to the disease.
She went on: "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 (my doctor) ... 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."
Katie had her final round of radiotherapy on Tuesday and will continue to take medication designed to help keep the cancer at bay but she's now feeling a lot more hopeful and Katie concluded the essay by urging other women to make sure they check their breasts and don't skip mammograms.
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