Ten Years Later
- E! News TV host Giuliana Rancic, 48, is marking her 10 year breast cancer anniversary by sharing some self-discovery. She tells E! News in an interview one of her biggest lessons was “realizing I was stronger than I had thought I was.”
- Dr. Connie Lehman tells SurvivorNet that it’s very important for women to get a mammogram every year, especially if you haven’t yet gone through menopause. (Rancic got her mammogram at 36; it saved her life.)
- “I want to be completely clear: If you are between 50 and 74 and you have not had a mammogram in the last two years, you are overdue,” Dr. Lehman says. “Please get a mammogram.”
“My biggest self-discovery after cancer and treatment was realizing I was stronger than I had thought I was,” Giuliana told E! News, in an interview. “I love knowing that I have come out of that experience a stronger woman.”Read More
Giuliana Says ‘Be Proactive About Your Health’Giuliana is currently cancer free, and she and her husband, former Apprentice star Bill Rancic, have a 9-year-old son named Duke they brought into the world via surrogate. The couple also has a successful cancer foundation that’s helping to improve the quality of life for women with cancer — a struggle Giuliana is all too familiar with.
“It’s so important to be proactive about your health and to take your health into your own hands,” Giuliana previously told SurvivorNet. “Sometimes it’s intimidating and you feel like, you know, your doctor’s really busy, they have so many appointments to get to and you have all these questions — go in with the questions prepared or in your phone so you can easily access them and ask those questions that are important to you.”
It’s important to get a second opinion; breast cancer is not a one-size-fits-all disease, Giuliana says, so “the treatment I got, the cancer I had, could be very, very different from the next person, so you really have to realize that and know that you have to empower yourself with the questions that you want the answers to so that ensures that you go down the path that’s right for you.”
“Breast cancer is not a one-size-fits-all disease,” TV host Giuliana Rancic tells SurvivorNet during a wide-ranging interview about her experience with the disease.
Giuliana’s Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Giuliana was just 36 at the time of her breast cancer diagnosis, and she had no family history of the disease. She and Bill were also in the middle of an infertility struggle; the couple had been trying unsuccessfully for a child before deciding to go through with artificial insemination — a procedure in which sperm is inserted into the uterus. When that didn’t work, they tried in vitro fertilization — a process in which the egg and sperm are fertilized in a petri dish outside the body and then implanted into the woman’s uterus.
One of the screening tests Giuliana’s fertility specialist required her to get before insemination was a mammogram — the process used to examine the breasts for diagnosis and screening. The goal of a mammogram is to detect breast cancer early. The American Cancer Society recommends women have the option of beginning regular mammograms at the age of 40. Giuliana, at 36, was still four years away from needing her first mammogram.
“I have no family history of cancer, so can’t I just skip that one?” Giuliana recalled asking her doctor in a passage from her 2016 memoir entitled, Going Off Script: How I Survived a Crazy Childhood, Cancer, and Clooney’s 32 On-Screen Rejections.
Giuliana went on to write that her doctor’s nurse said, “Sorry, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 26, 36, or 46 … If there’s estrogen-positive breast cancer and you get pregnant, nine months of hormones can fuel the cancer.”
She went to get the mammogram, and it wasn’t until she was in the waiting room at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles that she recalled getting a “really weird vibe.” “Something just came over me,” she wrote in her book.
She was in fact diagnosed with breast cancer — another blow following her continued struggle to have a baby on her own; the couple ended up going the surrogate route. The cancer was caught early, so it was very treatable, but that didn’t stop the shock and fear that came over her; the news made her “lose it.”
But now she’s cancer free and has started a foundation called “Fab-U-Wish,” which helps women with breast cancer look and feel their best while also supporting research. Giuliana and Bill have also partnered with the C3 Prize (Changing Cancer Care), a challenge sponsored by Astellas Oncology that funds ideas to improve cancer care other than treatment for both patients and their caregivers.
The Importance of Getting a Mammogram
Dr. Connie Lehman, a director of the breast imaging clinic at Mass General Hospital in Boston, tells SurvivorNet that it’s very important for women to get a mammogram every year, especially if you haven’t yet gone through menopause.
“We know that cancers grow more rapidly in our younger patients, and having that annual mammogram can be lifesaving,” Dr. Lehman says. “After menopause, it may be perfectly acceptable to reduce that frequency to every two years.”
“But what I’m most concerned about is the women who haven’t been in for a mammogram for two, three, or four years, those women that have never had a mammogram,” she adds. “We all agree regular screening mammography saves lives.”
In Giuliana’s case, that’s exactly what her mammogram did for her — it saved her life.
“I want to be completely clear: If you are between 50 and 74 and you have not had a mammogram in the last two years, you are overdue,” Dr. Lehman says. “Please get a mammogram.”
Contributor: Sydney Schaefer