10/17/2011 11:58 am ET Updated Dec 17, 2011

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

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.


"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:

Inspiring Faces Of Breast Cancer