Giuliana Rancic on her breast cancer: ‘what a privilege to be able to use my platform’

Giuliana Rancic went public with her breast cancer diagnosis back in 2011. She was just 37 at the time and she returned very quickly to her job at E! News afterwards. Given all we’ve learned about E! since, I wonder whether that was her decision, although she presented it like it was.

Rancic left E! News in 2015 and was replaced by Maria Menounos, who left in 2017 when she had a brain tumor. Catt Sadler took over at that point, leaving after we learned that she made significantly less than her male co-star, Jason Kennedy. Rancic actually made more than Kennedy when she was an achor, which makes me think that her departure was a business decision by E!, although Rancic has presented it as her choice to put family first.

All of that is to say that Rancic was quite open with her breast cancer diagnosis, and that there must have been a lot going on behind the scenes at E! that we didn’t know. She recently told People that it was a difficult decision to go public but that she’s heard from so many women that she’s helped them.

When Giuliana Rancic learned in 2011 that she had breast cancer, the diagnosis came as a shock.

“I was 36 years old… it really came out of left field…

“It was hard to come to the decision to share my story… I held back a couple of months before I decided to come out with it. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. For me though, I decided to share my infertility journey, which was very empowering, so that helped me come to the decision to share my breast cancer story as well. I thought, if this can happen to me, this can happen to anyone. I thought how all these women my age, younger, older, watch me on TV every night and if just one woman goes and does a self check, or gets a mammogram and finds her breast cancer early, wouldn’t that be incredible?”

[Rancic] pointed out that breast cancer has a five-year survival rate of 99 percent, but “the key for me is getting out there and encouraging women to find it early… More women find their breast cancer themselves than at the doctor or mammogram. I have women all the time who say, ‘I found my breast cancer early because of you and I’m going to be okay.’ And I think, ‘Wow, what a privilege to be able to use my platform to help so many people.’”

[From People]

For all you can say about Giuliana, she did help a lot of women by being so open about her diagnosis. I wondered at the time why she went back to work so soon. E! News may have been a toxic work environment and her position may have been at risk if she took time off to focus on her health or was otherwise secretive about it. It may have been Giuliana’s choice however.

As an aside, I had my genetic testing done with 23andMe a couple of years ago. Last week they retroactively made the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic variant results available to customers. This is the test that helped Angelina Jolie decide to get a preventative mastectomy and reconstruction after her mother passed at just 56 from ovarian and breast cancer. These tests used to be prohibitively expensive, costing $475 and up, but 23andme is just $199 for a complete genetic profile. (It’s actually on sale now for $139. This is not a paid plug.) A positive BRCA1 or 2 result does not mean that a woman has or will develop breast or ovarian cancer, it’s just an indication of increased risk. Not having the BRCA1 or 2 variants doesn’t mean we should stop getting screenings or doing self checks as Rancic mentions. Still, it’s a positive step forward in learning about our personal health. We have to take our wins where we can get them.


photos credit: Backgrid and Instagram/Giuliana Rancic

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5 Responses to “Giuliana Rancic on her breast cancer: ‘what a privilege to be able to use my platform’”

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  1. mamacita says:

    very glad she’s healthy and could share her story.

  2. Hazel says:

    I know that’s why my mother went back to work so soon after breast cancer treatment—she was afraid of losing her job.

  3. Bridget says:

    This is awesome. I’m so glad she did this. I always liked her.

  4. JRenee says:

    Wish her the best

  5. Icantremembermyusername says:

    HER breast cancer may have a 99% five year survival rate. Not all. Very individual diagnoses and treatment plans and prognoses.