Katie Couric, the former Today host and CBS Evening News anchor, announced today that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June, underwent surgery in July and began radiation treatments earlier this month.
In an Instagram post and a lengthier essay on her website, Couric writes candidly about her diagnosis to encourage other women to get screened for the disease. “Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States,” she writes on Instagram. “On June 21st, I became one of them.”
Couric writes in the essay titled “Why NOT Me?” that the diagnosis immediately brought back memories and feelings about her late husband Jay Monahan, who died of colon cancer in 1998. “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,” she writes. “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.”
The former Today host also writes about the moment she received the phone call from her doctor regarding a biopsy that had been taken.
“When I called back, Dr. Drossman picked up right away,” Couric writes in the essay. “’Your biopsy came back. It’s cancer. You’re going to be fine but we need to make a plan.’ 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….What does this mean? Will I need a mastectomy? Will I need chemo? What will the next weeks, months, even years look like?”
Couric also details her treatment plan, which would include a lumpectomy, followed by radiation and medication — “specifically, something called an ‘aromatase inhibitor’ I’d need to take for five years.”
“Please get your annual mammogram,” Couric 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.”
See Couric’s Instagram post below, and read her essay here.