In a recent Instagram post, the 65-year-old TODAY show alum revealed she was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 21, 2022, the same day as her eight-year wedding anniversary. She elaborated on receiving this life-changing diagnosis in a poignant personal essay on her website.
“I felt sick and the room started to spin,” Couric wrote. “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?”
Her thoughts also went to other members of her family who’d battled cancer — including her first husband Jay Monahan, who died from colon cancer at just 42 years old in 1998.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among cisgender women in America. Luckily, Couric’s case was detected early enough that the cancer hadn’t spread to her lymph nodes. She underwent a surgery to remove cancerous tissue on July 14 and started radiation on September 7, receiving her final round earlier this week.
“Throughout the process, I kept thinking about two things: How lucky I was to have access to such incredible care, since so many people don’t, and how lucky I was to be the beneficiary of such amazing technology,” she shared. “It made me feel grateful and guilty — and angry that there’s a de facto caste system when it comes to healthcare in America.”
Couric said she felt compelled to share her breast cancer story to remind other women to be proactive about regular screenings. Like most cancers, breast cancer has a better prognosis if it is detected early. The American Cancer Society recommends annual screenings via mammograms for cis women ages 45–54, which the option to bump down to every other year after a person is 55 years old.
Additionally, she stressed that women with dense breasts like her — who are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer — should talk to their doctors about additional screening measures, such as breast ultrasounds.
“Please get your annual mammogram,” Couric added. “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.”
Before you go, check out these products patients and survivors of breast cancer can actually use: