I was saddened to hear about Giuliana Rancic’s diagnosis of breast cancer, which she announced last week on the “Today’’ show. Rancic, 36, the host of “E! News’’ and “Fashion Police’’ on the E! network, had been publicly airing her efforts to get pregnant using in vitro fertilization on her reality show with her husband, Bill Rancic - yes, of “Apprentice’’ fame.
Rancic told “Today’’ host Ann Curry she had to put off these plans after a mammogram revealed she had early stage breast cancer.
Why did she have a mammogram in the first place? Rancic said her infertility specialist in Denver insisted she have one before having her third round of IVF. She couldn’t believe that other specialists she had seen for IVF treatments had not insisted on a mammogram beforehand.
Women under 40 who have IVF don’t need to have the screening, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine agrees: On its website, it recommends a breast exam and Pap smear prior to starting IVF therapy for women of all ages, but recommends mammograms only for those age 40 and older.
While Rancic may have clearly benefited from having a mammogram, the vast majority of women under 40 don’t. Women who are at high risk of breast cancer because they have, say, a BRCA gene mutation or relatives with the mutation are told to be screened earlier, but Rancic indicated that she was not at higher than average risk. D.K.