What Giuliana Rancic Wants Other Women To Know About Breast Cancer
October 19, 2018
By Giuliana Rancic
1. Take your health into your own hands.
Doctors are an incredible wealth of knowledge and skill, and I was blessed to have worked with the best team of oncologists out there, but it is so important to know your body. Do your research and ask smart questions, so you can be an informed decision-maker in your path to recovery. Remember, there are several different types of breast cancer, so your specific diagnosis will inform you as to which treatment option will be best for you. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, have a list of questions ready to go either on your phone or printed out to ask. I used to keep them in my head and by the time I left the office, I would kick myself because I forgot to ask half of them! Writing them down makes a huge difference.
2. Schedule activities to distract you.
When you are first diagnosed you’re going to feel a variety of emotions, including overwhelm. You’re going to want answers, and you’re going to want them yesterday! That’s normal. But once you’ve done your research and worked with your doctors on a plan of attack, you need to take a step back to breathe. Just because you have breast cancer, doesn’t mean your entire life needs to be about breast cancer. Go out to dinner and a movie, take a vacation, anything that doesn’t involve talk about your health. Even God rested on the seventh day; you can, too.
3. A breast cancer diagnosis does not mean you’ll never be able to start a family.
Bill and I opted for a double mastectomy to try to eradicate the disease because radiation and chemotherapy could have derailed our chance of conceiving; however, regardless if you proceed with a double mastectomy for your treatment, you still have options available to start a family, even for couples with a history of breast cancer or are carriers of the BRCA gene mutation. It’s important to not let fear of breast cancer get in the way of starting the family of your dreams. Dr. William Schoolcraft explains, “CCRM just opened a new Hereditary Disease and Cancer Prevention Lab to screen embryos and determine if an inherited cancer mutation, such as the BRCA1 gene mutation, has been passed on through a process called preimplantation genetic testing (PGT)—essentially, through the IVF process, we can test your embryos and transfer the unaffected, cancer mutation-free embryos. A recent study found that 72% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and about 69% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by the age of 80, and individuals that have a mutated cancer gene have a 50% risk of passing the mutation to their children. Through PGT, families can eliminate these cancer mutations from their family tree forever.” To anyone requiring chemotherapy or radiation treatment but still wish to have kids in the future, my best advice is to ask questions. Ask your oncologist about how your cancer treatment could impact your fertility and your options, and select the best course of action from there.
4. Learn how to properly self-test for breast cancer, and then tell three friends.
Taking the time to learn how to properly self-test can help in the long run. It’s simple and it saves lives. We tell our girlfriends everything, from which new TV binge worthy shows are on Netflix, to what products to try from Trader Joe’s, to who’s kissing who in Hollywood – Why not help ensure your friends are keeping their health in mind, too?
5. It’s tough, but you’re tougher.
Before my first surgery, I remember being scared. There were so many unknowns: Would the surgery work? How bad would it hurt? Would the scars look ugly? And you find yourself in this rabbit hole that feels much too overwhelming to climb out of. Lean on your support system as much as you need, but know that you’re stronger than you think. Our courage expands in times of struggle. Find the things that help you relax or feel less anxious, and know this too shall pass.