Last year, Katie Couric revealed her breast cancer diagnosis in the hopes of educating other women about the importance of early screenings. “I had intended to share the importance of getting a mammogram because I was six months late,” the Katie Couric Media founder says. “Like a lot of women, I lost track of time as a result of the pandemic so I was filming my mammogram thinking it was just going to be a helpful reminder — and then I was diagnosed with breast cancer.”
At stage 1A and an Oncotype — which measures the likelihood of your cancer returning — of 19, she didn’t have to undergo chemotherapy, but she did have to go through radiation treatment. Throughout the process, Couric kept thinking about how lucky she was to have access to such incredible care and to be the beneficiary of amazing technology. “It made me feel grateful and guilty,” she wrote in her essay. “And angry that there’s a de facto caste system when it comes to healthcare in America.”
Couric has a long history with cancer but she adds that her diagnosis gave her a new sense of urgency to spread her message of early detection measures. “I wanted to help women understand that if they have dense breasts — and 45% of women 40 and over do — that a mammogram may indicate that they have breast density but it may not be enough to diagnose breast cancer.”
As a journalist, Couric likes to go where no woman has gone before, and if she has an opportunity to destigmatize these conversations around women’s bodies, she’s going to take it. “We do need to be responsible for staying healthy and helping all of the people we love to stay healthy because if you don’t have your health, you have nothing,” she says.