Ovarian Cancer Warrior Christiane Amanpour
- CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour, 64, has been battling ovarian cancer, but she announced the end of her chemotherapy treatments back in September.
- Amanpour announced her diagnosis in June, but that has not slowed down the world-renowned journalist one bit. Most recently she’s been asking tough questions for her coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war.
- Ovarian cancer is called the cancer that whispers because its symptoms can be very vague. People should remain vigilant and aware of any new or unusual symptoms and report to their physicians for appropriate evaluation.
Amanpour is a 64-year-old world-renowned journalist and CNN’s chief international anchor. She married former State Department spokesperson James Rubin, now 61, in 1998, but the two divorced in 2018 after having one child together, son Darius Rubin, 21.Read More
Alexey Navalny has just been sentenced to another 9 years in prison, while the Kremlin cracks down hard on anti-war protests and independent media. So, I asked Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, what is Putin so afraid of? pic.twitter.com/FQvOFXmVSw
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) March 22, 2022
“What are you so afraid of?” she asked Peskov plainly. “Of Navalny of journalists, of the truth… What is there to fear?”
She also pressed him on how others could believe what Russia says after they denied an invasion of Ukraine just days before it occurred.
“How do you expect Russia at the highest levels to be taken seriously now?” she said. “What can one believe about what’s coming up next?”
Her fierce questions come about 30 years after she came to fame for her reporting for CNN from the front lines of the Bosnian War at great personal risk to herself. Needless to say, ovarian cancer is no match for this fearless journalist.
Christiane Amanpour’s Cancer Journey
Amanpour shared the news of her ovarian cancer in June. The diagnosis came after a visit to her doctor because she sensed something was off with her body.
“I would not be swayed when I felt a pain that was unusual, and I pursued it until the very end of getting my first ultrasound, which is the benchmark for then having a baseline to know whether you’ve caught it early in time and therefore ‘cure’ it, or not,” she said in an interview with Good Morning America veteran and fellow cancer survivor Robin Roberts last fall
Then, in the same interview, she shared she was finishing up chemotherapy after 18 weeks of treatment.
“It’s now the end of my chemotherapy, tomorrow is my last session,” she said on September 29, 2021, adding that treatments had been “fatiguing [and] tiring, and emotionally wearing.”
Assuming that chemotherapy was effective following her previously successful surgery, Amanpour’s prognosis should be good. Even still, the journey has not been easy.
“I felt the humility of not being able to be in control, not feeling that I needed to be in control, but knowing that this is bigger than me, it’s bigger than anyone who has these types of illnesses and to give myself over to the care of the experts and that’s what I did,” she said. “I think that was incredibly important for me to understand.”
And in true journalistic fashion, she’s sharing her story to educate other women about ovarian cancer and encourage them to advocate for themselves when it comes to their health.
“I want women to understand they must pay attention to their bodies,” she told Roberts. “Whatever feels abnormal to them in terms of what they know to be their body’s normal state, they need to pursue it.
“[Ovarian cancer] is very difficult to detect and that’s what I want women to understand.”
Understanding Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is when the ovaries – which produce the sex hormone, estrogen, as well as eggs – become cancerous. Women have two ovaries, one on either side of the uterus.
The fallopian tube, which brings the egg from the ovary to the uterus for fertilization, is actually where many ovarian cancers begin. First, a few cancerous cells develop on the fallopian tubes, then these cells stick to the ovaries as the fallopian tubes brush over the ovary. From there, the cancerous cells grow to form a tumor.
Your risk for ovarian cancer may be increased if you have gone through menopause, have a gene mutation like BRCA1 or BRCA2, are obese or overweight, had your first pregnancy after age 35 or never carried a pregnancy to full-term, have a family history of cancer or used hormone replacement therapy. You should talk with your doctor about your potential risk for the disease.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer is known as the cancer that whispers because symptoms are vague and sometimes similar to regular menstrual cycle fluctuations. Dr. Beth Karlan, a gynecologic oncologist with UCLA Health, says that ovarian cancer can be difficult to recognize with its subtle symptoms.
“Ovarian cancer does not have any specific symptoms,” Karlan said in an earlier interview with SurvivorNet. “It’s often referred to as the cancer that whispers in that it has symptoms that are really very vague… and nothing that may bring your attention directly to the ovaries.”
But Dr. Karlan still wants women to keep an eye out for a variety of possible symptoms.
“The symptoms include things like feeling full earlier than you usually would when your appetite is strong… Feeling bloated,” she added. “Some changes in your bowel habits. Some pain in the pelvis. These are symptoms women may have every month. These are not very specific. But what we’ve found from multiple studies, it’s this constellation of symptoms.”
Dr. Stephanie Wethington, director of the gynecologic oncology survivorship program at Johns Hopkins Medicine, previously told SurvivorNet that prevention for ovarian cancer is an important area of focus.
“We must remember that prevention is key and advocate for all women to discuss their family history and individual risk factors with their doctors and ask whether there are risk-reducing options available to them,” Dr. Wethington wrote.
Our advice to readers: See your doctor if you feel like something is off. Given that ovarian cancer can have no symptoms or a myriad of symptoms that you might easily brush off as nothing, it’s important to always seek medical attention when your gut is telling you something might be wrong. That doesn’t mean we should assume the worst every time we feel bloated or have a change in appetite, but it does mean that we should always try to listen to the signs our body is giving us.