Giuliana and Bill Rancic (NBC Today)
NEW YORK -- When Giuliana Rancic announced on TODAY in October that a mammogram revealed that she had the early stages of breast cancer, the E! News host received an outpouring of support. The scores of well wishes and prayers are in part what lead her to go public with the newest, more radical development in her treatment.
Rancic, who initially underwent a double lumpectomy, told Ann Curry on Monday, "I'm going to go ahead and move forward with a double mastectomy."
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When Giuliana's huband Bill was last on TODAY, just after his wife's first procedure, the hope was that lab results would reveal all the cancer was removed during the lumpectoies. Bill, who was by his wife's side Monday morning, said ultimately, "in the one breast they weren't able to clear the margins and get all the cancer out. So we were then faced with a decision to make." Bill explained, "do you go back and do another lumpectomy, and try to clean it out or do you go for a more radical procedure?"
The decision to opt for that more radical procedure stemmed from several factors. Among them, wanting to have children. Giuliana, who is 37, told Curry that the anti-estrogen therapy involved with another lumpectomy and radiation could delay that process by years, but ultimately choosing the option that provided the best odds is what tipped the scales.
"In the end, all it came down to was just choosing to live and not looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life," Giuliana said.
Bill added, "This is a decision that wasn't made lightly. We talked to as many experts as we could, we got the best information that was made available to us. And one of the other factors that came in was quality of life. If she had chosen the lumpectomy and radiation, then you have to go in every six months for the rest of your life getting mammograms ... You're always looking over your shoulder. In this particular case, this was the best option for Giuliana."
"For me, it was very important to just get the cancer out," Giuliana said. "That's what I wanted to do. Just get it out. With the double mastectomy I have less than 1 percent chance of getting it (the cancer) back. With the lumpectomy, radiation and medication, I could have seen 20 to 30 to 40 percent chance in my lifetime, and for me it just wasn't worth it."
Although Giuliana was quite stoic and decisive during the interview, she made it clear this decision was not an easy one. "lt was a very hard decision to come to. But in the end what happened was, Bill said to me, 'I just need you around for the next 50 years, kid. I don't care what you look like, I don't care about the physical portion of this, I just need you around for the next 50 years. So let's just get you healthy.'"
Speaking of Bill, Giuliana said his support has been essential to her personal and emotional survival. "Bill's been the world to me through this. I couldn't have done it without Bill ... I couldn't be more at peace with the decision," Giulana said. "I still break down some nights. When it's quiet in bed, it's easy to start crying and just be sad. But i'm OK."