Why Do So Many In TV News Get Cancer? Christiane Amanpour Joins Al Roker, Robin Roberts, Amy Robach, Bryant Gumbel, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw

Published Jun 16, 2021

Anne McCarthy

Cancer in the TV World

  • Christiane Amanpour, 63, has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
  • She joins TV hosts such as Robin Roberts and Bryant Gumbel who were diagnosed with cancer.
  • In an interview SurvivorNet, multiple myeloma survivor Tom Brokaw, 81, advises cancer patients to choose their doctor based on credentials – not on how much you like them.

This week, we learned that CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, 63, is battling ovarian cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. Last year, NBC Today co-host Al Roker, 66, was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Related: CNN’s Christiane Amanpour Reveals She Has Ovarian Cancer, Has Started Chemotherapy; How To Spot The Signs of ‘The Cancer That Whispers’

Amanpour joins a long, growing list of other news journalists who’ve each battled their own cancers while also raising awareness about their disease. Amanpour shared her health news with viewers on Monday, saying, “I’ve had successful major surgery to remove it, and I’m now undergoing several months of chemotherapy for the very best possible long-term prognosis, and I’m confident.” Amanpour said she hopes to raise awareness around the disease and encourage more women to get tested.

There’s no evidence of an underlying common thread in their cancers, but the publicity from their cases helps people to better understand the symptoms and screening recommendations, likely saving lives in the process.

Related: NBC ‘Today’ Weatherman Al Roker, 66, Reveals He’s Having Surgery to Treat Prostate Cancer; What That Means & What Are the Side-Effects

Prior to Amanpour’s ovarian cancer diagnosis, Al Roker was the most recent high-profile name to come forward with a cancer battle. We’ve been watching Al co-host the Today show for almost three decades; he joined the show in 1996. The loveable weatherman, who we adore for his friendly and open personality, shared his diagnosis this morning. In a TV segment today, Al said: “Turns out I have prostate cancer…the good news is we caught it early. The not great news is it’s a little aggressive. So I’m going to be taking some time off to take care of this. It’s a little more common than people, I think, realize.”

Related: There’s No One Definitive Symptom for Prostate Cancer, But There Are Clues

“So I decided I wanted to go public with this because 1 in 9 men are going to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, but for African-American men, that number is 1 in 7, and it’s more deadly. If you detect it early, this is a very treatable disease.”

Roker shared that his prostate cancer was discovered following a PSA test, which showed he had elevated PSA in his blood levels. PSA stands for prostate-specific antigens, and can indicate prostate cancer. “It’s the first line of defense when detected possible prostate cancer,” Al said of the PSA test. We’re happy to see Al raising awareness around this disease, which affects 1 in 9 men; in 2020, there will be approximately 191,930 new cases of prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Tom Brokaw Has Multiple Myeloma

Iconic NBC journalist Tom Brokaw is a multiple myeloma survivor. In an exclusive interview with SurvivorNet, Brokaw advised cancer patients to go for the best doctor. He said, “I think that we have to change the mindset of a lot of patients. And get tough, frankly, about changing that mindset.

Related: SurvivorNet Interviews Tom Brokaw: “I Just Want to Stay Vertical” — Politics Keep My Mind Off Cancer, And Medical Marijuana Helps Too

“I know you love your doctor, I know you think he’s a great guy, or she’s a great person,” Brokaw told SurvivorNet. “The fact is unless they’ve got the skillset, they can be a bastard, but if they’re good at what they’re doing, go to them!” he says. “That’s what you have to learn to do. You have to learn to go make a tough decision about something.”

Anchorman Tom Brokaw Advises Other Cancer Patients: You Don’t Have to Like Your Doctor, Just Get To The Best One

Amy Robach Had Breast Cancer

“I Fell On My Knees Sobbing!” ABC News Journalist Amy Robach On The Emotions That Come With Cancer

ABC News journalist Amy Robach, 48, was diagnosed with stage 2 invasive breast cancer. She was diagnosed in 2013 after agreeing to get a mammogram on live TV as part of a Good Morning America breast cancer awareness segment.

Related: Drawing Closer During Quarantine — ABC’s Amy Robach Says She’s Drawing Closer to Her Husband

Robin Roberts Had Breast Cancer

Robin Roberts, 60, is a breast cancer survivor. The anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America was first diagnosed with the disease in 2007, and has been vocal about her cancer journey.

Related: ‘I Don’t Want to Survive … I Want to Thrive’ — ‘GMA’ Anchor and Two-Time Cancer Survivor Robin Roberts Gives Update on Her Health

Bryant Gumbel Had Lung Cancer

Former Today show co-host, Bryant Gumbel, 72, is an American television journalist and sportscaster, and he’s also a lung cancer survivor. Gumbel underwent surgery for his lung cancer in 2009.

Peter Jennings Had Lung Cancer

Former ABC News’ World News Tonight anchor, Peter Jennings, died in 2005, five months after he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was 67 years old when he passed.

Related: Peter Jennings Would Be 82 Today: We’ve Learned A Lot About Treating Lung Cancer Since His 2005 Death

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