“Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. On June 21st, I became one of them,” she wrote on Instagram before sending her followers to an essay on her website. “As we approach #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth, I wanted to share my personal story with you all and encourage you to get screened and understand that you may fall into a category of women who needs more than a mammogram.”
In the essay, the legendary journalist and author, whose first husband Jay Monahan died of colon cancer in 1998, said she learned of her diagnosis after finally getting her mammogram and a subsequent biopsy.
“I felt sick and the room started to spin,” the former Today anchor wrote of the moment her doctor told her of her diagnosis. “I was in the middle of an open office, so I walked to a corner and spoke quietly, my mouth unable to keep up with the questions swirling in my head. ‘What does this mean? Will I need a mastectomy? Will I need chemo? What will the next weeks, months, even years look like?’ ”
Along with her late husband, Couric’s father had prostate cancer and her mother had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“My mood quickly shifted from disbelief to resignation,” Couric added. “Given my family’s history of cancer, why would I be spared? My reaction went from ‘Why me?’ to ‘Why not me?’”
Couric said she underwent a lumpectomy on July 14, removing a tumor she wrote was “2.5 centimeters, roughly the size of an olive.” After the pathology results came back showing that her cancer was stage 1A, she started chemotherapy on Sept. 7.
After urging readers to get their annual mammograms, she said she is doing her best to keep a positive outlook and view this experience as a teachable moment.
“Please get your annual mammogram. 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,” she wrote. “During the month of October, we’ll be covering every aspect of breast cancer: the latest diagnostic tools, treatments, and prevention strategies as well as sharing first-person accounts. And of course, I’ll have more on what I’m learning as I navigate my own diagnosis.”