MONDAY, October 17, 2011 (Health.com) — This morning E! News and red carpet host Giuliana Rancic announced that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer—the very disease for which she's been trying to raise awareness recently. In an interview with the Today show, Rancic said a tumor was spotted during a required mammogram that took place before she began her third trial of in vitro fertilization.
"It was incredible, instant sobbing, it was like the world was crashing around me," Rancic told Today about reacting to her diagnosis. "I couldn't believe it—36 years old and no family history? I just couldn't believe it."
We spoke with Rancic in early October—before she announced her diagnosis—about her involvement in a breast cancer–awareness campaign. To find if people know the myths and facts about about breast cancer, Rancic interviewed passersby on the streets of Santa Monica, Calif. Here's what she had to say about the campaign.
Q: Approaching strangers about something as personal as breast cancer must be tough. What were you expecting?
I was actually a little concerned that people might not feel comfortable talking about it. I started off with icebreaker questions—such as what people's favorite nicknames for breasts were—before launching into more serious questions. I was pleasantly surprised by how willing women, and even men, were to discuss the subject, and how interested they were in wanting to be sure they walked away with the right facts.
An even bigger surprise was how many people revealed their own personal stories about breast cancer—from a woman who was a survivor to a girl who found a benign lump to a man whose aunt was diagnosed but refused to talk to the rest of the family about it.
Q: Has breast cancer impacted you personally?
Like most people, I've had friends and family who have had the disease. In fact, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago, and it was very tough on her and our entire family.
Q: Would you have been able to answer the questions you asked participants about breast cancer?
I'd like to think I have a pretty good handle on what's fact and what's not. However, I've heard a lot of misinformation out there on the Internet, and it's hard to know what to believe. Last year I cohosted a live webcast that showed women how to conduct a proper self-exam. We thought an impactful approach this year would be to have me actually take to the streets to help get people talking about breast health and clear up some common misconceptions about the disease.
Q: Do you think the videos were effective?
If we can capture the attention and change the behavior of even a handful young women, we consider that a huge success.