Giuliana Rancic's Quest to Have a Child Leads to a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Health & Wellness on 10.17.11
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Giuliana Rancic has been an open book when it comes to her personal life. The E! News host met her husband during a TV interview for her show, and they aired their Italian nuptials on the Style Network. Not long after, a reality series was developed to follow them as they start their lives together as a long-distance married couple.

The show, aptly titled Giuliana and Bill, also followed them on their journey to have kids, one that was much more difficult than either had anticipated. When the natural method of conceiving a baby didn't work for them, the couple explored their options and decided to give in-vitro fertilization (IVF) a shot. What transpired was a roller coaster of emotion and heartbreak -- and a ride that would ultimately save her life.

Giuliana and Bill had success during the first round of IVF, but she sadly miscarried only eight weeks into her pregnancy. The second round didn't work at all. They decided to take a year off and reevaluate what they wanted to do. At the end of that year, they wanted to give it one more try and made an appointment with the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.

As part of the testing, Giuliana was required to have a mammogram done. She resisted at first, because she felt she was too young to worry about breast cancer (she's 36). However, the doctor insisted, pointing out that if she did, in fact, have cancer, the hormones from IVF would accelerate the spreading of the cancer cells. So, Giuliana went in and had her test, and a few days before she was to leave for Denver for her egg retrieval, she received the news: She had breast cancer.

After an emotional few days, Giuliana and Bill went ahead with their planned trip to Denver, with the understanding that they would not go further in the IVF process until she was cancer-free. The doctors seem confident that they caught it early and the chances of a full recovery are good. Giuliana will undergo surgery this week, and then begin six weeks of radiation treatments to fight the disease.

After she's cancer free, Giuliana will continue her attempt to have a baby, telling the Today Show, "Now I truly believe God was looking out for me. Had I gotten pregnant, a few years down the line I could have gotten sicker. So the baby saved my life."

And she's absolutely right. What if she didn't have to get a mammogram in preparation for having a baby? How long would it have taken her to discover that she was sick and how far would the cancer had spread? The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends women receive a mammogram every one to two years after age 40, but as the number of cases rises among younger women, should the recommendation be lowered?

NCI says no -- with some exceptions. Women in their 30s have a much higher density in their breast tissue, which could lead to false negatives. Mammograms also subject women to a small amount of radiation every time the test is performed. The earlier you begin receiving mammograms and the more radiation you're exposed to, the bigger the chance that radiation could lead to cancer. However, women who test positive for the breast cancer gene or have a history of breast cancer in their immediate family are encouraged to talk to their doctor about getting screened early.

There's no doubt that someone as popular and relatable as Giuliana Rancic revealing this news will reignite the debate about a lowered recommended age for breast cancer screenings, and it could even illicit many young women to request a mammogram from their physician. Regardless of age, every woman should be doing a monthly self exam to go along with your yearly exam given by your doctor. Giuliana was lucky to have found it early, and we wish her all the best on a quick and successful recovery.

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