Giuliana Rancic to have double mastectomy to fight breast cancer
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/05/2011
Giuliana Rancic has announced she will undergo a double mastectomy, a surgical operation to remove both her breasts, in attempt to beat breast cancer.
"Well last time I was here, I told you that I was getting the double lumpectomy [a lump-removal surgery in both breasts] and radiation, but now instead of radiation, I'm going to go ahead and move forward with a double mastectomy," the Giuliana & Bill star told Ann Curry during a Monday morning appearance with husband Bill Rancic on NBC's Today show.
Bill, the original The Apprentice winner, told Curry the lumpectomy failed to remove the entire cancer mass in one breast, which left the couple with a big decision to make -- whether Giuliana should undergo an additional lumpectomy in an attempt to clean it out, or a more drastic medical procedure.
Giuliana said she decided upon the double mastectomy after much thought, admitting the surgery would still allow her to try to have children sooner.
"That was actually a big part of it, not all of it, but a big part. If I had chosen to just do another lumpectomy and then do radiation and then do anti-estrogen therapy -- which means 2-5 years of medication -- that basically puts me into early menopause and I would have to put off having a baby for several years," Giuliana explained.
"So that was something we took into account. But to be honest, at the end, all it came down to was just choosing to live and not looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. That's really what it came down to."
Bill told Curry he and Giuliana received numerous expert opinions and information when determining what would be the best form of surgery for Giuliana, but in the end, the couple said they believed removing both breasts would ultimately give Giuliana a better chance at defeating the cancer and having a more normal life.
"I think one of the other factors that came into play was quality of life. If she would have gone with the lumpectomy and the radiation, then you have to go in every six months for the rest of your life getting mammograms," Bill explained, adding that Giuliana would be constantly worried before the mammograms and after while waiting for the results.
"And it could have come back more aggressively next time. So for me, it was just very important to get the cancer out. That's what I wanted to do -- just get it out. With the double mastectomy, I have less than a 1% percent chance of getting it back. With another lumpectomy and radiation and medication, I could have seen a 20, 30 or 40 percent chance in my lifetime. And for me, it just wasn't worth it," Giuliana told Curry.
While Giuliana noted she could undergo reconstructive surgery almost immediately after the mastectomies, she said the posing changes in her physical appearance would be insignificant if it meant getting healthy again.
"In the end, Bill said to me -- I think this definitely got to me -- Bill said to me, 'I just need you around for the next 50 years, kid.' That's what he said. He said, 'I don't care what you look like. I don't care about the physical portion of this. I just need you around for the next 50 years, so let's just get you healthy,'" Giuliana explained.
"That certainly helped me come to the decision... I couldn't be more at peace with the decision, but it's hard. I still break down some nights when it's quiet in bed. It's easy to just start crying and be very sad, but I'm okay."
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Giuliana revealed she had breast cancer in October. She learned of the bad news after she had received a mammogram when her in vitro fertilization doctor demanded -- over her objections -- she do so before beginning her third attempt at a fertility treatment.
"I sadly found out that I have the early stages of breast cancer," Giuliana told Curry on Today at the time. "It's been a shock because I recently found this out, and a lot of people have been asking, 'We saw in the season finale of your show that you went and got IVF, so what happened? Are you pregnant?' But sadly, we've had to put that off because of the news."