Amy Robach Has Breast Cancer, Credits GMA Live On-Air Mammogram for Saving Her Life

Journalist is undergoing mastectomy Thursday, thanks ABC producers and Robin Roberts for encouragement

By Rebecca Macatee Nov 11, 2013 2:42 PMTags
Amy RobachABC

When Amy Robach had the first ever live TV mammogram on Oct. 1, she hoped it would help other women to understand the importance of these checks. What she didn't realize, though, is that this mammogram would actually save her own life.

On Monday, Nov. 11, the journalist revealed that she has breast cancer—something she would not have known about were it not for the mammogram she underwent on "GMA Goes Pink Day" last month.

In a personal piece written for ABC News, the 40-year-old mother of two (and stepmother of three) opened up about when she first got the call from a GMA producer asking her to undergo a live mammogram. She was about to interview Marie Monville, the wife of the Amish school shooter, when her producer called, saying, "Amy, next week we'd like you to do the first ever live television mammogram for "GMA Goes Pink" day. You're 40, the age women should start getting mammograms. Would you even consider it?"

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"It felt like a strange thing to consider given where I was and what I was about to do," she wrote, "but oddly now, it all feels connected…That day, when I was asked to do something I really didn't want to do, something I had put off for more than a year, I had no way of knowing that I was in a life-or-death situation.

"So in the days to follow, if several producers and even Robin Roberts herself hadn't convinced me that doing this on live television would save lives, I would never have been able to save my own."

She "breathed a sigh of relief" once the mammogram was completed, admitting before the results she "would have considered it virtually impossible" that she would have cancer, writing, "I work out, I eat right, I take care of myself and I have very little family history; in fact, all of my grandparents are still alive."

But when she was called in "for a few follow-up images" a few weeks later, she found out within "a matter of hours" that she had breast cancer. "I was alone that afternoon, never thinking to bring anyone with me, never thinking that day would be life-altering," she wrote. "My husband [Andrew Shue] was on a business trip and my parents live across the country, but that night everyone flew into New York City and we started gearing up for a fight."

And this Thursday, Nov. 14, Amy's doctors will perform a bilateral mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery. "Only then will I know more about what that fight will fully entail, but I am mentally and physically as prepared as anyone can be in this situation," she wrote.

She's incredibly grateful to "every producer, every person" who urged her to get the mammogram, knowing it's thanks to them doctors were able to catch her cancer early. Her doctors actually told her bluntly, "That mammogram just saved your life."

"I was also told this, for every person who has cancer, at least 15 lives are saved because people around them become vigilant. They go to their doctors, they get checked," she wrote. "I can only hope my story will do the same and inspire every woman who hears it to get a mammogram, to take a self-exam. No excuses. It is the difference between life and death."