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Giuliana Rancic, E! News Host, Has Breast Cancer: What's The Importance Of Finding It Early?

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 10/17/11 12:58 PM ET Updated: 12/09/11 08:23 AM ET

UPDATED: Giuliana Rancic's husband Bill said on TODAY that his wife is doing well after undergoing breast cancer surgery, AOL TV reported. Rancic had undergone a double lumpectomy and a removal of several of her lymph nodes, and is now at home recovering after the two-hour surgery. Next, AOL TV reported that Giuliana will learn if the cancer has spread and she will also undergo radiation therapy.

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"E! News" host Giuliana Rancic announced Monday on NBC's Today show that she has breast cancer, and that she was alerted to the cancer via a mammogram during her third in vitro fertilization attempt.

"Through my attempt to get pregnant for the third time, we sadly found out that I have early stages of breast cancer," she said on the Today show. "It's been a shock. A lot of people have been asking, we saw that you went and got IVF, are you pregnant? But sadly, we've had to put that off."

Rancic, 36, is a TV personality on "E! News" and "Fashion Police." She and her husband also have appeared on their own reality show, "Giuliana and Bill," on which viewers have been able to see their past unsuccessful attempts at using IVF to get pregnant.

Rancic didn't elaborate on the Today show what kind of breast cancer she has, but she joins one of the hundreds of thousands of women diagnosed with the cancer each year. In 2007, the most recent year that data is available, 202,964 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,598 women died from the cancer.

And worldwide, breast cancer cases are increasing -- with 641,000 cases of breast cancer in 1980, and 1.6 million cases last year, the Associated Press reported.

Rancic noted on the Today show that she caught the cancer early -- early diagnosis ups the chances that the cancer can be successfully treated, according to the American Cancer Society. The larger and further along the breast cancer tumor gets, the more symptoms it causes and the more likely it's metastasized (spread) past the breast, while the smaller the tumor and earlier along it's found, the more likely it hasn't spread past the breast, the American Cancer Society reported.

Screening for breast cancer with mammography (breast X-rays) are recommended every other year starting at age 50 until age 74, though at-risk women should consult their doctor about their particular screening schedule, according to 2009 recommendations released by the United States Preventive Services Task Force. However, other health groups including the American Cancer Society recommend that women ages 40 and older should have a mammogram every year to screen for breast cancer, and should continue having mammograms unless they have medical problems (like heart failure or severe dementia) that would hinder it.

The Boston Globe points out that because Rancic is only 36 -- younger than the baseline screening ages from the USPSTF and the American Cancer Society -- the cancer likely wouldn't have been caught as early if her fertility doctor didn't screen her with mammography before she underwent IVF.

The Boston Globe reported:

“He said, ‘I don’t care if you’re 26 or 36, but I will not get you pregnant if possibly there’s a small risk that you have cancer because the hormones will accelerate the cancer,’” said Rancic.

However, women under age 40 who are undergoing IVF are not recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists or the American Society of Reproductive Medicine to have mammograms, with the latter saying just a pap smear and breast exam are needed for younger women undergoing IVF, the Boston Globe reported. That's because younger women have denser breasts than older women, and that density could sometimes look like a tumor.

MSNBC reported that Rancic's breast cancer was probably not caused by her IVF treatments, as research hasn't shown any sort of link between the two.

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women (after skin cancer), and while it's far more common in women, it can also develop in men. There are several different types of breast cancer, though ductal carcinoma (cancer that starts in the milk ducts of the breast) is the most common, according to the Mayo Clinic.

There are several risk factors for breast cancer, including being a woman, being older, having a personal or family history of breast cancer, being obese, beginning your period at an early age or beginning menopause at a later age, and taking certain hormone therapy medications to treat menopause symptoms. Women with the gene mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2, as well as certain other gene mutations, also have a higher risk of breast cancer, the Mayo Clinic reported.

Recently, Wanda Sykes, an actress and comedian, and Landra Reid, the wife of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, were also diagnosed with breast cancer. Sykes underwent a double mastectomy because of the cancer.

For more inspiring people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, click through this slideshow:

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  • Giuliana Rancic

    The 36-year-old "E! News" host announced in October on<a href="http://theclicker.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/17/8363134-es-giuliana-rancic-reveals-she-has-breast-cancer" target="_hplink"> NBC's Today show</a> that she has breast cancer, and that she was alerted to the cancer via a mammogram during her third in vitro fertilization attempt. "Through my attempt to get pregnant for the third time, we sadly found out that I have early stages of breast cancer," she said <a href="http://theclicker.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/10/17/8363134-es-giuliana-rancic-reveals-she-has-breast-cancer" target="_hplink">on the Today show</a>. "It's been a shock. A lot of people have been asking, we saw that you went and got IVF, are you pregnant? But sadly, we've had to put that off." Rancic underwent a double lumpectomy and removal of several of her lymph nodes, but Rancic later went on the TODAY show in December to say that the cancer was not completely cleared by those treatments and that she will <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/05/double-mastectomy-giuliana-rancic-breast-cancer_n_1129433.html" target="_hplink">undergo a double mastectomy</a>.

  • Wanda Sykes

    In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres aired last month, Wanda Sykes revealed that she had been <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/23/wanda-sykes-breast-cancer_n_977761.html#s312402&title=Wanda_Sykes" target="_hplink">diagnosed with breast cancer</a> and underwent a double mastectomy. "I had breast cancer. Yeah, I know it's scary," Sykes said in the interview. "This was in February. I went for the reduction. I had real big boobs and I just got tired of knocking over stuff. Every time I eat ... Oh lord. I'd carry a Tide stick everywhere I go. My back was sore so it was time to have a reduction." After the reduction, the pathology report found ductal carcinoma in situ in her left breast, which prompted Skykes, who has a <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20531010,00.html" target="_hplink">family history of breast cancer</a>, to opt for a double mastectomy. And while the diagnosis is scary, she hasn't lost her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/23/wanda-sykes-breast-cancer_n_977761.html#s312402&title=Wanda_Sykes" target="_hplink">signature humor</a>. "I was like, 'I don't know, should I talk about it or what?' How many things could I have? I'm black, then lesbian. I can't be the poster child for everything ... At least with the LGBT issues we get a parade, we get a float, it's a party. [But] I was real hesitant about doing this, because I hate walking. I got a lot of [cancer] walks coming up."

  • Elizabeth Edwards

    Elizabeth Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer just hours after her husband and presidential-hopeful John Kerry conceded their election -- she had originally noticed a lump in her breast during the campaign. She continued to fight the disease on and off until she passed away in December 2010, after learning that the cancer had spread to her liver. Her family asked that, in lieu of flowers, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/elizabeth-edwards-death-donations-wade-edwards-foundation_n_793464.html" target="_hplink">donations be made</a> to the <a href="http://www.wade.org/" target="_hplink">Wade Edwards Foundation</a>, which was founded in honor of Edwards' son, Wade, who died in a car crash at the age of 16.

  • Christina Applegate

    In 2008, actress Christina Applegate shared in a "Good Morning America" interview that she had been <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=5606034&page=1" target="_hplink">dagnosed with breast cancer</a> at the age of 36 -- she also opted for a bilateral mastectomy instead of radiation or chemotherapy. "I didn't want to go back to the doctors every four months for testing and squishing and everything. I just wanted to kind of get rid of this whole thing for me. This was the choice that I made and it was a tough one," she said <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=5606034&page=1" target="_hplink">in the interview</a>. "Sometimes, you know, I cry. And sometimes I scream. And I get really angry. And I get really upset, you know, into wallowing in self-pity sometimes. And I think that it's all part of the healing." Perhaps the best healing of all came earlier this year when Applegate gave birth to baby Sadie with musician Martyn LeNoble. "She's healed me in so many ways. She's just made my life so much better. I've been kind of sad for a long time, and she's just opened my whole soul," Applegate <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20467525,00.html" target="_hplink">told <em>People</em></a> in an exclusive interview this past February.

  • Melissa Etheridge

    In 2005, rock-and-roll artist Etheridge underwent a lumpectomy and five rounds of chemotherapy and radiation to eradicate her breast cancer. "I had been running along in my life at a fast pace. When I heard it was cancer, I just stood still," Etheridge told <em>Shape</em> magazine in a 2009 interview. "My life passed over me like a big wave, and after, I was left there standing. This turned out to be a very good thing. I stopped. I looked at my life, I looked at my body and spirit." In the midst of her treatment, Etheridge found out she was <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6994469/ns/dateline_nbc/t/melissa-etheridges-brave-comeback/" target="_hplink">nominated for a Grammy</a> for her song "Breathe" -- and while she wasn't sure she'd make an appearance at first, Etheridge ultimately decided not only to attend, but to perform in a Janis Joplin tribute. Taking to the stage bald and with no eyebrows from chemo, she belted out Joplin's classic, "Piece Of My Heart." "It was very special that I had been presented with a day, that I could come back into this entertainment world, and show everyone that you are back and okay, and thought, okay," Etheridge told <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6994469/ns/dateline_nbc/t/melissa-etheridges-brave-comeback/" target="_hplink">MSNBC at the time</a>. "I'm going to do this. And I'm not gonna be afraid of the truth. The truth is, yes I had cancer. Yes, I got it out of me. Yes, I went through chemotherapy. Yes, I'm bald." Check out Etheridge's breast cancer causes on her <a href="http://www.melissaetheridge.com/pinkpage" target="_hplink">Pink Rage website</a>.

  • Robin Roberts

    ABC's "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. "I never thought I'd be writing this. ... <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/CancerPreventionAndTreatment/abcs-robin-roberts-breast-cancer/story?id=3430554" target="_hplink">I have breast cancer</a>," she said in a message released by ABC in August 2007. While working on a tribute to her colleague Joel Siegel, who had died from cancer, Robins reported on how key early detection is -- and, taking her own advice, she did a self breast exam and found a lump. "Much as I was hoping the doctor would say it was nothing, she did a biopsy and confirmed that the lump I'd found was indeed an early form of breast cancer," Robins <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/CancerPreventionAndTreatment/abcs-robin-roberts-breast-cancer/story?id=3430554" target="_hplink">continued in her statement</a>. Robins underwent a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. In 2008, she told <em>People</em> magazine that she <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20238177,00.html" target="_hplink">complemented her regular doctor's visits</a> with acupuncture, exercise and advice from a nutritionist. "Yes, I am living with cancer," she <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20238177,00.html" target="_hplink">told <em>People</em></a>. "But don't go 'woe is me.' I don't want it. Don't need it. I'm still in the game. I don't want to say 'survivor.' I want to thrive."

  • Kylie Minogue

    Australian singer Minogue was first diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2005 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy treatment. "When you are stripped of everything and you have to grow your eyelashes back, grow your hair back, it's just astonishing," Minogue told British <em>Glamour</em> magazine. "It's hard to express what I've learned from that, but a deep psychological and emotional shift has obviously taken place." This open and honest approach to her diagnosis led Minogue to be voted the <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/09/03/us-cancer-celebrities-idUSTRE6820P120100903" target="_hplink">most inspirational breast cancer celebrity</a> in an online British-based poll, Reuters reports.

  • Sheryl Crow

    Singer Sheryl Crow was <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2006-10-06/health/crow.cancer_1_breast-cancer-early-detection-cancer-patients?_s=PM:HEALTH" target="_hplink">diagnosed with breast cancer</a> in 2006 and, thanks to early detection, underwent a minimally invasive surgery and seven weeks of radiation therapy. Crow told <em>Health</em> magazine that <a href="http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20411904_2,00.html" target="_hplink">she saw a nutritionist</a> when she was first diagnosed and began a diet full of fish, walnuts, colorful vegetables, fiber and healthy spices. "I kept my breast cancer tattoos -- where the radiation was lined up on my chest," Crow told <em>Health</em>. "Once in a while I look at it to remind myself that I have to put on my oxygen mask first before I put it on anybody else." Today, a cancer-free Crow is focused on spreading the message of early detection. In 2010, she <a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/entertainment/post/2010/08/sheryl-crow-opsns-breast-cancer-imaging-center-/1" target="_hplink">founded the Sheryl Crow Center</a> as part of the Pink Lotus Breast Center, which was founded by her own surgeon, ABC News reports.

  • Cynthia Nixon

    In 2008, the "Sex and the City" star went public with her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/15/cynthia-nixon-on-her-love_n_96749.html" target="_hplink">cancer diagnosis</a>, revealing that she found a lump in its early stages and had it removed through radiation, The Huffington Post reported at the time. Nixon wrote in a 2008 <em>Newsweek</em> article that her mother was <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2008/10/03/a-family-of-strong-women.html" target="_hplink">diagnosed with breast cancer twice</a> -- the first time, Nixon was just 13. "I feel like I have a very <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/03/slideshow_n_991609.html#s384104&title=Cynthia_Nixon" target="_hplink">concrete story to tell</a>. My story isn't just my story, it mine and my mother's story," the <a href="http://ww5.komen.org/" target="_hplink">Susan G. Komen for the Cure</a> spokesperson has said.


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