AMY ROBACH’S CANCER VICTORY

October 12, 2019 at 4:30 am

After an on-air diagnosis, ABC News host Amy Robach discusses her battle and victory against the disease.

Aired on October 11, 2019. 

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>> OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER
AWARENESS MONTH, DESPITE MEDICAL
ADVANCES, BREAST CANCER IS A
REAL DIAGNOSIS FOR MANY.
ONE IN EIGHT WOMEN IN THE U.S.
WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST
CANCER IN HER LIFETIME.
FOR WOMEN WHO RECEIVE A
DIAGNOSIS, AROUND 80% HAVE NO
PRIOR FAMILY HISTORY.
FOR JOURNALIST AMY ROBUCK HER
BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS WAS A
SURPRISE.
STEMMING FROM AN ON-AIR
MAMMOGRAM ON "GOOD MORNING
AMERICA."
AMY DETAILS HER FIGHT AND WHAT
SHE LEARNED THROUGH THE PROCESS,
AND HER MESSAGE TO OTHERS FACING
THE DISEASE IN "BETTER: HOW I
LET GO OF CONTROL, HELD ON TO
HOPE, AND FOUND JOY IN MY
DARKEST HOUR."
GOOD TO SEE YOU.
>> NICE TO SEE YOU, AS WELL,
JACK.
>> I'M FASCINATED TO TALK ABOUT
HOW YOU CAME UP THE TITLE OF THE
BOOK.
IT'S CALLED "BETTER."
TELL ME HOW ABOUT THE TITLE CAME
ABOUT.
>> MY 10-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, IN
THE MIDDLE OF MY FIGHT I WAS IN
A LOW MOMENT AND PUSHING BACK
TEARS, AND AVA HAD WRITTEN ME A
P
POEM.
SHE WANTED TO ENCOURAGE ME AND
MAKE ME FEEL BETTER.
AND THE TITLE OF HER POEM WAS
"BETTER."
AND JUST THAT HOPEFUL WORD
STARING BACK AT A TIME I THOUGHT
ANYTHING BUT IT BROUGHT JOY TO
ME.
I THOUGHT, WOW, MY DAUGHTER IS
SO WISE.
SHE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT TO SAY.
IT SEEMED LIKE THE PERFECT TITLE
FOR MY BOOK BECAUSE IT IS ABOUT
FIGURING OUT HOW TO FEEL BETTER
EVEN WHEN TIMES ARE AS TOUGH AS
THEY GET.
>> MOST PEOPLE HAVE HEARD THE
STORY ABOUT HOW YOU DID THIS
LIVE ON GOOD MORNING AMERICA.
ORIGINALLY YOU WERE RELUCTANT TO
DO THE MAMMOGRAM LIVE.
WHY?
>> I FELT LIKE NO WOMAN LOOKS
FORWARD TO HAVING HER FIRST
MAMMOGRAM.
I DIDN'T WANT TO DO IT IN FRONT
OF 5 OR 6 MILLION PEOPLE FOR A
COUPLE OF REASONS.
FIRST OF ALL, I JUST -- IT
WASN'T SOMETHING I WAS GOING TO
DO.
I DIDN'T HAVE A FAMILY HISTORY
OF IT.
I JUST THOUGHT CANCER COULDN'T
HAPPEN TO ME.
CERTAINLY BREAST CANCER COULDN'T
HAPPEN TO ME.
NO ONE IN MY FAMILY HAD IT.
I HAD THIS, JUST, FEELING OF
INVINCEABILITY.
I FELT IT WAS A PRIVATE THING
AND IT WAS ROBIN ROBERTS WHO
CALLED ME INTO HER OFFICE AND
SAID, UH, I GUARANTEE YOU IF YOU
WALK INTO THAT MAMMOGRAM VAN AND
GET IT AND YOU CONVINCE ONE
OTHER WOMAN TO DO IT, YOU'LL
SAVE A LIFE, AMY.
I PROMISE YOU.
BY DOING THIS ON TELEVISION, YOU
WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST IMPACT OF
YOUR CAREER.
AND I HADN'T THOUGHT OF IT IN
THOSE TERMS.
I THINK WE GET INTO JOURNALISM
TO HAVE AN IMPACT.
AND I JUST NEVER THOUGHT HAVING
A MAMMOGRAM ON LIVE TELEVISION
WOULD BE A PART OF IT.
>> ONE OF THE THINGS YOU SAID, I
DON'T WANT IT TO APPEAR LIKE
IT'S A STUNT.
>> YEAH.
WE HAVE SO MANY PEOPLE SAYING
LOOK AT ME.
IT'S LIKE LOOK AT ME JOURNALISM
NOW.
I'M NOT A SUBSCRIBER TO THAT.
AND MY JOB IS TO TELL OTHER
PEOPLE STORIES.
NOT TO BE THE STORY.
AND THAT WAS A BIG PART OF MY
HESITANCY.
ROBIN SAID TO ME WHEN I TOLD HER
ABOUT THE FAMILY HISTORY AND THE
REASONS WHY I DIDN'T WANT TO DO
IT.
SHE SAID 80% OF WOMEN WHO HAVE
BREAST CANCER HAVE NO FAMILY
HISTORY.
I REALIZED THERE WAS A LOT I
DIDN'T KNOW.
THEN IT BECAME A CHALLENGE TO ME
TO SPREAD THE WORD AND TO SPREAD
CORRECT INFORMATION TO WOMEN AND
GIVE WOMEN THE ENCOURAGEMENT,
PERHAPS, THAT I ALSO NEEDED TO
TAKE MY HEALTH SERIOUSLY AND TO
REALIZE THAT I WAS JUST AS
VULNERABLE TO CANCER AS ANY
OTHER WOMAN.
>> ONE OF THE THINGS YOU SAID IN
YOUR BOOK, AND I'VE HEARD YOU
SAY IT BEFORE.
YOU SAY I'M GOING TALK ABOUT HOW
MY CANCER MADE ME BETTER.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?
>> IT MADE ME REALIZE THAT ALL I
NEED IS WHAT I HAVE RIGHT NOW.
SO MANY LIVE OUR LIVES ABOUT
WHAT IS NEXT.
WHEN YOU'RE CHASING THINGS
CONSTANTLY, YOU NEVER ACTUALLY
REALIZE WHAT YOU HAVE.
BUT WHEN YOU STARE DOWN DEATH
AND YOU REALIZE THAT THE MIT OF
SECURITY IS JUST THAT.
WE'RE ALL VULNERABLE.
TOMORROW IS NOT A GIVEN FOR ANY
OF US.
WHETHER YOU HAVE CANCER OR NOT.
IT'S SO EYE OPENING WHEN YOU
FEEL THAT FEAR AND YOU SAY, YOU
KNOW, I HAVE RIGHT NOW.
I HAVE RIGHT NOW WITH MY KIDS.
AND I HAVE RIGHT NOW TO SAY THIS
IS WHAT I WANT TO DO.
AND THIS IS WHERE I WANT TO BE.
AND IT JUST CHANGES YOUR WHOLE
LIFE.
HOW YOU MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT
YOUR CAREER, HOW YOU MAKE
DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR MARRIAGE
AND CHILDREN.
IT WAS LIFE CHANGING AND I AM A
BETTER MOM.
I AM A BETTER WIFE.
I AM A BETTER FRIEND THAN I WAS
BEFORE.
IT'S JUST A NEW REALITY.
AND IT'S SCARY AS HELL TO THINK,
OH, GOD, CAN I PLAN FOR MY
RETIREMENT?
WILL I HAVE GRANDCHILDREN?
WILL I HOLD MY GRANDCHILDREN.
WILL I SEE MY DAUGHTERS WALK
DOWN THE AISLE.
I'LL GET EMOTIONAL NOW BECAUSE
THOSE ARE THINGS I JUST TOOK FOR
GRANTED.
I ASSUMED THOSE WERE IN MY
TRAJECTORY.
AND NOW I DON'T ASSUME THAT.
AND IT'S JUST A NEW REALITY TO
ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE
TODAY.
AND THAT'S IT.
>> YOU TALK ABOUT HAVING TODAY
AND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF EACH
MORNING WHEN YOUR EYES OPEN AND
YOUR ABOUT TO START ANOTHER DAY.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT?
>> I AM SO GRATEFUL TO BE HERE.
AND THAT IS THE TRUTH.
AND I THINK IF YOU GET TOGETHER
A GROUP OF CANCER PATIENTS OR
ANYONE WHO FOUGHT NOR THEIR
LIVES, YOU'LL SEE GRATITUDE AND
JOY IN A WAY YOU DON'T SEE IN
ANY OTHER GROUP.
THERE ARE SMILES ON THEIR FACES
EVEN IF THERE ISN'T HAIR ON
THEIR HEAD.
AND I HAVE BEEN SO HONORED TO BE
A PART OF THAT GROUP BECAUSE I
GET IT.
THERE IS JOY ON MY FACE.
THERE'S APPRECIATION IN MY HEART
THAT WAS NOT THERE BEFORE.
>> SO FOR ALL OF US WHO AREN'T
DOCTORS, WHO AREN'T HEALTH CARE
PROVIDERS, WHO AREN'T
RESEARCHERS, WHO LISTEN TO YOUR
STORY AND WE'LL SAY TO OURSELVES
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
WHAT IS THE ANSWER TO THAT?
>> THERE'S A LOT YOU CAN DO.
YOU CAN, FIRST OF ALL, NUDGE ALL
THE WOMEN IN YOUR LIVES TO GET
THOSE MAMMOGRAMS STARTING AT AGE
40 EVERY YEAR.
AND EARLIER, IF NECESSARY, AS
WELL.
IF THERE IS FAMILY HISTORY OR A
REASON TO HAVE ONE EARLIER.
THE CANCER WAS IN ME FOR SEVERAL
YEARS.
WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE WHO IS, YOU
KNOW, IN NEED, THERE'S A LOT YOU
CAN DO.
KINDNESS IS SO POWERFUL.
THE KINDNESS I RECEIVED FROM
COMPLETE STRANGERS OVERWHELMED
ME WITH JOY.
I MEAN, IT WAS THERAPY.
AND PEOPLE ASKED ME WHAT CAN I
DO IF I HAVE A FRIEND GOING
THROUGH THIS.
TAKE CARE OF HER CHILDREN.
DO SOMETHING KIND FOR HER, HER
CHILDREN.
THAT'S WHAT YOU WORRY ABOUT AS A
MOM.
I HAD FRIENDS THAT TOOK MY GIRLS
TO THE MOVIES AND IT WAS THE
BIGGEST GIFT I RECEIVED.
I LEARNED HOW TO ACCEPT LOVE AND
CHARITY, WHICH NOT AN EASY THING
TO DO, NECESSARILY.
NO ONE WANTS TO BE PITIED.
IF YOU LOOK AT IT AS JUST THIS
COLLECTIVE HUG, WHICH IT WAS, IT
WAS TREMENDOUS.
SO BE KIND.
>> THE BOOK IS CALLED "BETTER."
IT'S POWERFUL.
IT'S SO WARMLY PERSONAL.
AMY, GOOD TO SEE YOU.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SPENDING
TIME WITH US.
>> THANK YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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