Giuliana Rancic greeted us with her megawatt smile and a warm hello when we sat down to chat at the Hotel Gansevoort. Her elation was palpable. Less than one month earlier, she and husband Bill Rancic welcomed their little boy Edward Duke, delivered via surrogate. In fact, the E! News anchor credits her baby for helping to save her life.
Last year, during IVF treatment, a mammogram revealed a tumor. She was just 36. But it was caught early enough to be treatable. As this year's spokesperson for P&G's "Do It For the Girls!" Day of Action, Rancic hosted a Twitter party, #GIVEHope, to inspire women nationwide to conduct breast self-exams and take the first steps toward implementing an early detection plan. She talked to us candidly about her treatment, her travails and the joys of being a new mother.
You've said early detection saved your life. How so?
That's exactly what saved my life -- finding the breast cancer early. I was 36, had no family history and I found it early in a mammogram. I remember hearing I had breast cancer. I thought it was a death sentence. Then, it wasn't until the doctor said, "Since we found it early, you have a 98 percent survival rate," I went, "What? 58?" He's like, "98." I'm like, "Wow. That's good. I'm going to survive." ... As women we're so busy taking care of everyone else. ... We don't go to the doctor as much as we should. We just try to manage everything ourselves. But if you let it go, if you don't get checked and you find that you have an advanced stage of breast cancer, people are going to have to take care of you.
What did going through cancer teach you?
I'm stronger than I thought I was. But I think true strength comes when you have no other alternative but to be strong. Now I know I can tackle a lot of things that I never thought I could tackle before. ... The other thing [I learned] too is just how loving people are -- not even just family and friends,
but all around the world.
What kind of support did your family, your friends and your husband, Bill, give you?
Tremendous. The role of the friend and the husband is so important. I'd probably still be under the covers crying if it [weren't] for Bill. I think the best thing he did was allow me to cry and be angry. But eventually, he had to pull the sheets up and say, "Now let's figure out our plan." Once we had a plan I felt better. Under the covers I had no plan and everything was really scary.
How has being a new mom helped you through this?
Being a new mom is a dream come true. It's everything I thought and a lot more. It was after such a tough year. I always knew there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, but I didn't realize it was going to be so bright.
What was the hardest part about all these pieces — the diagnosis, the treatment?
There are so many hard parts. But the one that sticks out the most is probably just finding out. I mean, when a doctor walks into a room and says you have breast cancer, those are the words you never want to hear. Cancer is just such a scary word. I think that initial shock and sadness is overwhelming.