NEW YORK: Matt Lauer and Al Roker got prostate exams on NBC’s “Today” show last week — while their colleagues giggled on-air and the snarky tweets rolled in. But just days later, ABC News correspondent Amy Robach shared some very personal news that should shut down snide comments the next time a medical procedure is broadcast on morning television.
Robach told viewers Monday that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, due to a mammogram performed last month live on “Good Morning America.”
The visibly emotional journalist, 40, said she had been putting off her first breast exam — and was especially nervous about doing it on television, a request from a producer for a breast cancer awareness segment. But “GMA” coanchor Robin Roberts, who publicly shared her own battle with breast cancer and then a rare blood disorder, convinced her it was important because it might save someone’s life.
“I know me, and I wasn’t in any rush to have that done anytime soon,” said the mother of two young girls; husband, actor Andrew Shue, was in the studio for support. “Little did I know that I would be a walking example of ‘having a mammogram saved my life.’”
High-profile names undergoing medical tests on TV is relatively new: Katie Couric famously started the trend in 2000 with an on-air colonoscopy; Kathy Griffin got a poolside pap smear for her Bravo reality show. But Robach’s diagnosis is an unsettling first: What appeared to be a routine morning show segment resulted in her doctors finding cancer.
That should be an especially powerful motivator for her fans, public health officials told us Monday. When a celebrity goes public with any health issue, more viewers get themselves checked out.