AMY ROBACH’S CANCER VICTORY

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

Aired on October 11, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> 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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