Zest For Life After Cancer
- Breast cancer warrior Katie Couric recently held a big party for her husband’s 60th birthday.
- Couric was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 21, 2022. She’s since undergone a lumpectomy and radiation treatment.
- Her lumpectomy was performed using a newer technology called wireless localization which makes it easier for surgeons to locate tumors and less uncomfortable for the patient. Experts say the new technique could be the way of the future for lumpectomy surgeries and could help ease a patient’s anxiety before surgery.
- Couric also needs to take an aromatase inhibitor for five years.
- An aromatase inhibitor is a drug used to block the activity of the aromatase enzyme and, consequently, stop the body from producing the hormone estrogen.
Couric and John Molner have been married since 2014. They were set up by a mutual friend in 2012 and got engaged in 2013. And the 66-year-old journalist made sure her husband felt loved as he entered his 6th decade.
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Couric’s celebration of Molner is a testament to the couple’s dedication to one another over the years. And their strong relationship has undoubtedly helped Couric through hard times – including the cancer diagnosis that arrived on the couple’s eighth wedding anniversary in 2022.
Katie Couric’s Breast Cancer Journey
Katie Couric made her breast cancer announcement on Sept. 28, 2022, in an essay for Katie Couric Media.
“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.
Prior to her diagnosis, Couric revealed she was overdue for a mammogram.
RELATED: Check Out The Brave History Of Cancer Advocacy From Breast Cancer Warrior Katie Couric, 65
“‘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.”
When You’re Getting a Mammogram, Ask About Dense Breasts
But much to her dismay, Couric actually hadn’t had a mammogram since December 2020.
“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 stage 1A, 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.
5 Critical Lessons From Katie Couric’s Breast Cancer Announcement
Her lumpectomy was performed using a newer technology called wireless localization which makes it easier for surgeons to locate tumors and less uncomfortable for the patient. It replaces the traditional wire placement patients must get before a lumpectomy surgery.
RELATED: GPS-Like Technology Is The Way Of The Future For Breast Cancer Lumpectomy Surgery, Experts Tell Us
This new technique functions much like a GPS in your car or phone and involves the insertion of a small tag or device onto your tumor several days before surgery. Then, on the day of surgery, the surgeon can locate the device and remove the tumor.
Cost and availability are still an issue when it comes to wireless localization, but experts say the new technique could be the way of the future for lumpectomy surgeries and could help ease a patient’s anxiety before surgery.
What Does Her Ongoing Treatment Look Like?
As mentioned before, Couric needs to take an aromatase inhibitor for five years. An aromatase inhibitor is a drug used to block the activity of the aromatase enzyme and, consequently, stop the body from producing the hormone estrogen.
“The way it works is that it’s used only in women who are post-menopausal – so their ovaries are shut down or asleep – but there’s still a little bit of hormone made in the body by an enzyme called aromatase,” Dr. Erica Mayer, a medical oncologist and a clinical investigator in the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, previously told SurvivorNet. “The aromatase inhibitor shuts down that enzyme so it takes the hormone level in the body as close down to zero as we can.”
Since Katie Couric’s cancer is hormone receptor positive, that means her cancer cells use estrogen, progesterone or both to grow and replicate. So, you can see why it an aromatase inhibitor would be helpful in her case.
Hormone Therapies for Breast Cancer: Aromatase Inhibitor
We don’t know what kind of aromatase inhibitor she is specifically taking, but examples of these drugs include: anastrozole (Arimidex), letrozole (Femara) and exemestane (Aromasin). All of these drugs are taken in the form of pills once a day. Many women don’t have any side effects when taking these drugs, but some may experience hot flashes, joint stiffness or achiness.
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