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When Good Morning America correspondent Amy Robach agreed to undergo a mammogram on-air last month as part of the show's promotion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she did so for the benefit of viewers with little thought to her own health.
"I would have considered it virtually impossible that I would have cancer. 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," said Robach.
But as it turns out, the procedure may just have saved her life.
Speaking on GMA, Robach called it "the diagnosis that's still hard for me to say out loud."
Robach's statement regarding her diagnosis:
"I was alone that afternoon, never thinking to bring anyone with me, never thinking that day would be life-altering. My husband 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.
On Thursday, Nov. 14, I will go into surgery where my 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.
And while everyone who gets cancer is clearly unlucky, I got lucky by catching it early, and there are so many people to thank for making sure I did. Every producer, every person who urged me to do this, changed my trajectory.
The doctors told me 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.
"On-air" screenings are an innovative way for television shows to promote cancer awareness while showing that those avoiding the procedure have nothing to fear. In fact, GMA's morning rival show did a similar promotion this month when Al Roker and Matt Lauer had prostate cancer exams on Today, thirteen years after Katie Couric aired her colonoscopy on the same program.
"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," says Robach. "It is the difference between life and death."