In a speech that was often emotional and brought many in the audience to tears, Good Morning America anchor and mother of two Amy Robach spoke about her fight with breast cancer at an event last night marking the National Accreditation of the Comprehensive Breast Center at Capital Health – Hopewell.
Diagnosed at the age of 40 after an on-air mammogram in October 2013, Robach had no family history or symptoms of the disease. After the scan picked up a suspicious area, Robach went in for additional tests including an ultrasound and biopsy. She received the diagnosis of a malignancy that day.
Robach pushed for a double mastectomy three weeks later and during the surgery discovered that the disease had spread to her lymph nodes. She then endured eight rounds of chemotherapy over the winter and spring. During the treatment, she never missed a day of work. Now on regular doses of the estrogen-blocker drug tamoxifen, Robach will continue to be vigilant in monitoring her health for the rest of her life.
Speaking about her platform as a news anchor on a national network, Robach is passionate about encouraging women to take care of themselves and to make appointments for mammograms beginning at age 40.
“It has been an incredible gift to share my story,” she said. “I’m not brave. I did something I had to do and I’m lucky to have a platform and to use it to help women help other women.”
“Early detection saves lives,” she emphasized. “You are at risk for breast cancer if you are two things: if you are a woman and if you are getting older.”
Robach said in addition to the outpouring of support she received from Good Morning America viewers, eight individual women reached out to her saying they made mammogram appointments after hearing her story, and ended up being diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Do not hesitate. Do not procrastinate,” Robach urged. “We are mothers, sisters, wives and we need to be here for all the people who count on us.”
Speaking about the recent accrediting of Capital Health’s Comprehensive Breast Center, Robach said she “loves the concept that a patient is a person.”
“To think about care on every level, to make people feel safe and comforted, and know there is love behind those brilliant minds, it’s an honor to be here because we all need hope,” she said.
The designation means the breast center has demonstrated a commitment to offer its patients every significant advantage in their battle against breast disease including offering provides a range of services under one roof, from annual screenings and advanced diagnostics to genetic testing, leading-edge oncology care, a high-risk breast cancer program, and a nurse navigator.
Breast center director and breast surgeon Dr. Lisa Allen said the center offers a patient-focused approach to clinical care, with personalized medicine, state of the art facilities, a convenient location and a commitment to recognizing each patient as a person.
She encouraged members of the audience to take a packet of ten postcards home with them to send to ten women, encouraging them to make appointments for mammograms.
“If each person sends out ten postcards, that’s one thousand women reached,” she said. “It’s important to take every opportunity to take care of our health.”