Our undergraduate oncofertility reporter, Meredith Wise, brings us the first of two blogs on Giuliana Rancic and her current experiences with infertility and breast cancer. Mrs. Rancic is using her celebrity to educate the world on these important issues, which gives us all something to reflect upon during this holiday season.
By Meredith Wise—Every day across the country, women diagnosed with cancer must face decisions regarding their treatment and its potential effect on their fertility. But when a celebrity faces the same decisions, suddenly the idea of oncofertility becomes a hot button issue.
On October 17, Giuliana Rancic, a television host for E! News, announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Rancic, who had been receiving IVF treatment in an attempt to have a baby, had a mammogram at her doctor’s suggestion. Rancic’s mammogram showed a tumor in her breast, and within a week she underwent a double lumpectomy.
Rancic had recently had a miscarriage following a round of IVF, and she credits the baby she lost with saving her life. Without the miscarriage, she would not have thought to schedule a mammogram.
Rancic and husband Bill have made no attempt to conceal her health issues from the public since the beginning of her IVF treatments, and her latest announcement is no different. On Monday, December 5, Rancic announced that her next step in treatment was to have a bilateral mastectomy, which she underwent on December 13.
According to an interview in People magazine, Rancic’s desire to have children, put on hold by her cancer diagnosis, is one reason that she has decided to proceed with the surgery. Rancic hopes that the surgery will allow her to beat her breast cancer once and for all, and that it will prevent her from having to undergo chemotherapy or radiation that could induce early menopause or interfere with future fertility treatments.
Rather than hide from the press, Rancic has used her celebrity status to put her health problems to good work for the public. She and her husband have appeared on numerous talk shows, answered questions for magazines, and have even Tweeted their appreciation of their fans’ support and prayers.
Rancic’s public battles with infertility and breast cancer serve to increase awareness and mobilize the public in the fight to find methods of fertility preservation. Rancic has chosen to undergo a dramatic surgery because she does not want other cancer treatments to further damage her chances of being a parent.
Rancic initially resisted getting a mammogram, believing that at 37, she was too young to have breast cancer. Now she hopes that by sharing her experience, she can remind others of the importance of early detection.
Hopefully, Rancic’s willingness to include her fans in her battles will not only raise awareness for breast cancer, but will also encourage the public to support finding methods of fertility preservation despite having to undergo cancer treatment. Rancic’s experience can raise awareness of oncofertility so that in the future, other women’s best hope against infertility will not be a surgery as radical as a double mastectomy.
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