Katie Couric was diagnosed with breast cancer in June.
The journalist and TV personality revealed in an essay on her website on Wednesday that she was given the diagnosis following a routine mammogram, which she underwent six months late.
"I felt sick and the room started to spin. I was in the middle of an open office, so I walked to a corner and spoke quietly, my mouth unable to keep up with the questions swirling in my head," she recalled. "What does this mean? Will I need a mastectomy? Will I need chemo? What will the next weeks, months, even years look like?"
The 65-year-old explained that she knew the "heart-stopping, suspended animation feeling" all too well because her first husband Jay Monahan died of colon cancer at the age of 42 in 1998 and her sister Emily died of pancreatic cancer aged 54 in 2001. However, she noted that her mother, father and second husband John Molner had "better outcomes" when they had cancer.
"My mood quickly shifted from disbelief to resignation. Given my family's history of cancer, why would I be spared? My reaction went from 'Why me?' to 'Why not me?'" she wrote. "But breast cancer - that was a new one; I had practically become an expert on colon and pancreatic cancers, but no one in my family had ever had breast cancer."
Katie underwent a lumpectomy to remove her olive-sized tumour on 14 July. She was able to forego chemotherapy but had radiation sessions between 7 and 27 September.
"I was warned that I may be fatigued and my skin may turn a little pink. Yesterday was my final round. My left breast does look like I've been sunbathing topless, but other than that, I've felt fine," she wrote, before urging others to get their breasts checked.
"Please get your annual mammogram. I was six months late this time. I shudder to think what might have happened if I had put it off longer."