Katie Couric Gives Back To The Cancer Community
- Katie Couric was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 21, 2022. She’s since undergone a lumpectomy and radiation treatment, but she’ll need to take an aromatase inhibitor for five years.
- Now, she’s trying to educate others about breast cancer screening, but this type of cancer advocacy is nothing new for Couric. She aired her colonoscopy on the TODAY show in 2000 and co-founded Stand Up to Cancer in 2008.
- Couric’s cancer advocacy stemmed from her experience with the disease prior to her own diagnosis. Both of her parents, her mother-in-law, her sister and her first husband all battled cancer. In addition, her current husbandhad to have a coconut-sized tumor removed from his liver in 2014, but he remains cancer-free today.
The hard-charing journalist and broadcaster recently shared she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June. But this is not the first time the word ‘cancer’ has caught her off guard.
The Cancer in Katie Couric’s LifeRead More
“June 21, 2022, was the first day of summer, my 8th wedding anniversary, and the day I found out I had breast cancer,” the essay title reads.
Access to Good Information is Crucial After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Prior to her diagnosis, Couric revealed she was overdue for a mammogram.
“‘You’re due for a mammogram,’ my gynecologist said, looking over my medical chart. It was May; I had just gotten a pap smear and was still sitting on the exam table in my pink cotton (open in the front) gown,” Couric wrote. “‘That’s crazy, I just got one!’ I told her, with a hint of indignation.”
But much to her dismay, Couric actually hadn’t had a mammogram since December 2020.
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“I’m normally vigilant, bordering on neurotic, about taking care of my health, especially after my husband Jay died of colon cancer in 1998,” she wrote. “Had the pandemic given me a skewed sense of time? Had it messed with my memory?”
Following a 3D mammogram, a breast ultrasound and a biopsy, Couric was diagnosed with hormone receptor-positive, Her2neu-negative breast cancer. She’s since undergone a lumpectomy and radiation treatment, but she’ll need to take an aromatase inhibitor for five years.
Couric is doing well now, but she’s determined to talk about her cancer journey to help others understand the importance of screening and knowing if you have dense breasts.
When You’re Getting a Mammogram, Ask About Dense Breasts
“Please get your annual mammogram,” she wrote in her essay. “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.”
Cancer Advocacy from Katie Couric
And though Couric is working to educate others about breast cancer right now, it’s worth noting that she’s been a cancer advocate for a long time now.
For starters, she aired her colonoscopy on the TODAY show in 2000.
“After that segment, the number of people getting colonoscopies increased by 20 percent,” she wrote in her recent essay.
Colon Cancer Screening is Extremely Important; Guidelines Now Say to Start at Age 45 if There Is No Family History
She also went on to co-found the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance in 2000 which later was integrated into Stand Up to Cancer in 2008 which is another organization co-founded by Couric.
“SU2C dramatically accelerates the rate of new discoveries by connecting top scientists in unprecedented collaborations to create breakthroughs,” according to the organization’s website. “SU2C innovations lead to better cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, which means that we can help more people diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors.”
In an older essay by Couric, she explains that Stand Up To Cancer came about after she and her co-founders lost loved ones to various forms of the disease or suffered from cancer themselves.
“In 2007, nine Type A women who had seen the ravages of cancer firsthand decided to join forces,” Couric wrote. “We were frustrated. Many of us had lost loved ones; my husband Jay died of colon cancer in 1998, and my sister Emily lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in 2001.
“Others, like Hollywood producer Laura Ziskin, were fighting the disease — in her case, breast cancer, which took her life in 2011. There’s a former studio head, Sherry Lansing, and marketing whizzes, non-profit experts and PR mavens in the mix. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, starting from scratch, but we just didn’t see the current paradigm of cancer research working well enough or fast enough for all the patients desperate for science to deliver answers.”
Katie Couric Media reports that SU2C scientists have contributed to the development of 9 new FDA cancer-fighting drugs and raised more than 746 million dollars as of 2021.
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