Oct. 17, 2011 at 9:28 AM ET
Giuliana Rancic had to be dragged "kicking and screaming," as she put it, in to have a mammogram at the recommendation of her doctor. Sure, she was trying to have a baby via in vitro fertilization, but she was only 36 years old -- why should she bother?
It turned out to be one of the best decisions of her life, as Rancic revealed to TODAY's Ann Curry, that the mammogram showed she was in the early stages of breast cancer.
"It was just a kick in the stomach," Rancic recalled. "That was the hardest day ... (the emotions are) what you expect but so much more. It was incredible instant sobbing, and it was like the world just crashed down around me. I couldn't believe it, 36 years old, no family history."
Rancic is personality on the E! Network and co-hosts "E! News" and "Fashion Police." She and husband Bill, season one winner of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice," married in 2007, and starting in 2010 the pair began appearing on a Style Network reality show, "Giuliana and Bill," which has detailed their struggles with infertility and attempts to conceive via IVF.
The last episode, which aired on September 26, showed her waving as she headed into a Denver clinic to get started on her next round of treatment. Not long after, she found out about the breast cancer diagnosis.
But as Rancic told Curry, while this was her third try at IVF, it was the first time a doctor had insisted on a mammogram.
"He said, 'I don't care if you're 26 or 36, but I will not get you pregnant if possibly there's a small risk that you have cancer because the hormones will accelerate the cancer,'" said Rancic. "I never in my wildest dreams expected anything would be wrong."
Rancic had a message to share with women: "A lot of us think we're invincible ... but we have to start putting ourselves on the to-do list," she said. "I had a friend call me yesterday, and she said, 'I'm so sorry, can I do anything for you?' And I said, 'Just call your doctor tomorrow and make an appointment. That's what you could do for me.' ... I will be okay because I found it early."
That is the key. Rancic has found her breast cancer in an early stage, and expects all should be well, after some surgery and six and a half weeks of radiation treatments. And as for having a baby? That's on hold for just now, but Rancic says, "I'm not going to give up. I want that baby.... That baby will have saved my life."
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