Katie Couric underwent treatment for breast cancer after receiving a diagnosis in June, the veteran news anchor and journalist has shared.
In a detailed post Wednesday on her website, Couric writes about the experience of being diagnosed with the disease after inadvertently missing a mammogram, saying she last had one in 2020, and the treatment that followed.
“Had the pandemic given me a skewed sense of time?” she asked. “If I forgot to schedule a mammogram, it could be a helpful reminder for other people too.”
Couric began filming the mammogram to share with her audience, as she did in previous medical procedures as the “screen queen” of colon cancer, but her doctor asked her to stop filming when she said she needed a biopsy. The next day, a text message came in asking her to call her doctor.
“When I called back, Dr. Drossman . said [at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center] picked up immediately. Your biopsy came back. It’s cancer. You’ll be fine, but we need to make a plan,” she recalls. “I felt sick and the room started spinning. I was in the middle of an open office, so I walked to a corner and spoke softly, my mouth couldn’t keep up with the questions spinning in my head.”
Couric recognized the feeling, as she has lost several family members to cancer, including husband Jay Monahan to colon cancer at age 42, her sister Emily Couric to pancreatic cancer at age 54 and her mother-in-law Carol Monahan to ovarian cancer. Her mother and father are also cancer survivors.
“Given the history of cancer in my family, why should I be spared? My response was ‘Why me?’ to ‘why’ not me?’” she says.
But she notes that breast cancer was a new diagnosis for her family. (Her current husband John Molner also had a tumor on his liver removed shortly before they got married.) “During that 24-hour whirlwind, I found that 85 percent of the 264,000 American women diagnosed each year in this country have no family history. I clearly still had a lot to learn,” she says.
Couric and her doctor decided that she would have breast-conserving surgery called a lumpectomy on July 14. The surgery would be followed by radiation, which she began on Sept. 7, and medication — an “aromatase inhibitor” that she would need for five years. She goes on to detail the procedure and the results, sharing that her staging was 1A and that her Oncotype, which measures the likelihood of the cancer returning, was 19, deemed low enough to forgo chemotherapy.
“I was warned that I might be fatigued and my skin might turn a little pink,” she writes of the radiation. “Yesterday was my last round. My left breast looks like I’ve been sunbathing topless, but otherwise I feel fine.”
Couric finished her post with breast cancer resources as she plans to further educate her audience during the month of October: “Please request your annual mammogram. I was six months late this time. I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d put it off longer. But just as important, please find out if you need additional screening.”