Couric said in a post on the website for her media company that she received the diagnosis during a routine mammogram on June 21. She has been an advocate for people regularly receiving colon cancer screenings since her husband, Jay, died from the disease in 1998.
She showed a colonoscopy she received on the “Today Show,” where she served as co-host in 2000, and the number of people getting colonoscopies increased by 20 percent following the episode, she said.
Couric decided to film herself receiving the mammogram, too, but her breast radiologist asked her after the mammogram to stop filming, adding that she wanted to perform a biopsy. The biopsy revealed Couric has cancer.
She had surgery on July 14.
“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,” Couric said. “And how lucky I was to be the beneficiary of such amazing technology.”
Her doctor told her after the surgery that the tumor, which was about 2.5 centimeters, was removed. She started radiation on Sept. 7 to remove any microscopic cells that could be “problematic” in the future, her radiation oncologist told her.
Couric also urged readers to get regular mammograms. She was six months past her originally scheduled screening.
“I shudder to think what might have happened if I had put it off longer,” she said.
Couric has dense breasts, meaning she has “relatively high amounts of glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue,” according to the National Cancer Institute. She said 45 percent of women in the country have dense breasts, which makes them more at risk of getting breast cancer.
Couric said doctors in 38 states are required to inform patients if they have dense breasts, but the information often does not make clear the need to have supplemental breast cancer screening.
She backed legislation that the Food and Drug Administration proposed to make language and guidance more specific related to doctors informing women who have dense breasts.
Couric also said only 14 states and Washington, D.C., require insurance companies to partially or fully reimburse patients for the costs of breast ultrasounds.