HomeHealthKatie Couric's breast cancer: what other women can learn from her diagnosis

Katie Couric’s breast cancer: what other women can learn from her diagnosis


Veteran television journalist Katie Couric announced this week that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June this year and has now undergone successful surgery to remove a 2.5-centimeter tumor.

“Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. On June 21, I became one of them,” Couric tweeted on September 28, 2022.

Couric decided to have “breast-conserving” surgery followed by radiation and medication, as Fox News Digital just reported.

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Mammography and ultrasound are life-saving tools, and women should put mammography at the top of their to-do list, Dr. Marisa Weiss, chief medical officer and founder of Breastcancer.org, told Fox News Digital in a telephone interview.

Katie Couric announced this week that she is being treated for breast cancer. Her husband, Jay, died of colon cancer in 1998, and in 2000, she broadcast her own colonoscopy on television to raise awareness of important screening tests. Now, a breast screening test known as a breast ultrasound has helped her doctor identify Couric’s breast cancer.
(Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for EPIX)

Dr. Weiss currently practices at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, where she serves as director of breast radiation oncology and director of breast health outreach.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women,” Weiss said.

“And there is an opportunity to find it early and save lives. Our best tool for finding breast cancer early before it spreads to other parts of the body is mammography, digital mammography.”

“Mammography could save your life. It can help you get the best and most effective treatment with the fewest side effects.”

He added, “Mammography could save your life. It can help you get the best and most effective treatment with the fewest side effects.”

Dr. Weiss said it’s critical to detect breast cancer early, “when it can be most effectively treated with the least aggressive therapies.”

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He also said: “Most breast cancer is detected by mammography. About a third to 40% are detected by mammography, 20-25% by physical exam alone, and the rest by combination of both”.

A woman is shown having a mammogram.  Some women also need to have a breast ultrasound, which provides doctors with more information.

A woman is shown having a mammogram. Some women also need to have a breast ultrasound, which provides doctors with more information.
(iStock)

Weiss said the “best chance for early detection” depends on “a high-quality mammogram done early, every year starting at age 40.”

She also said that many women “come in with much more advanced stages of the disease because their mammogram fell off schedule during the [COVID] pandemic.”

Weiss noted that this is “particularly true for people who have less access to quality care.”

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“The people who are most likely to have a late diagnosis, due to the pandemic and having a harder time accessing mammography, are the people who are [among] underrepresented populations,” he noted.

If a woman’s doctor recommends an ultrasound of the breast after a mammogram, the doctor is looking for more information about a possible trouble spot.

“Black women are more likely to be diagnosed with later stages of the disease and at a younger age,” he said.

If a woman’s doctor recommends an ultrasound of the breast after a mammogram, the doctor is looking for more information about a possible problem, Weiss said.

“Ultrasound is usually not a screening test,” Weiss said, “but rather a supplemental test. If you see something that worries you, ultrasound, which uses sound waves, can see what’s going on there.”

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An ultrasound can find a “lump, irregularity, or architectural distortion” in the breast, he noted.

Katie Couric openly discussed her breast cancer diagnosis this week. "Because my breasts are dense," she wrote, "I routinely get further evaluation using a breast ultrasound."

Katie Couric openly discussed her breast cancer diagnosis this week. “Because my breasts are dense,” she wrote, “I routinely have an additional exam using a breast ultrasound.”
(AP)

“It’s another way of looking at the breast, it can be very helpful in deciding if it’s a fluid-filled structure, like a cyst, or a solid spot like a nodule that could be cancer,” he explained.

Ultrasound “contains no radiation, so it’s used regularly,” Weiss said.

“If a mammogram shows something that’s a little questionable, that’s a good add-on, especially if you’re a young person.”

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She emphasized, “Mammography could save your life. It can help you get the best and most effective treatment with the fewest side effects.”

He added: “Our life is our greatest gift, and it is our job to take care of ourselves.”



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