An on-air stunt is being credited with saving the life of ABC reporter Amy Robach – and it could save the lives of many more women.
As reported by The Telegraph, Robach agreed to undergo a mammogram on Good Morning America last month as part of a segment to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Four weeks later, Robach discovered she had the life-threatening disease and told GMA viewers on Monday morning that she will undergo a double mastectomy later this week.
"The doctors told me bluntly: 'That mammogram saved your life,' " said Robach in a blog post on the ABC News website.
As it happens, Robach was initially hesitant when producers approached her to do the test on the Oct. 1 program.
"That day, when I was asked to do something I really didn't want to do, something I had put off for more than a year, I had no way of knowing that I was in a life-or-death situation," the 40-year-old news veteran said.
Robach writes that she agreed to the test following encouragement from her TV colleagues, including cancer survivor and GMA host Robin Roberts, who told her the segment could end up saving lives by encouraging other women to go for a mammogram.
"So on Oct. 1, I had my first mammogram, in front of millions of people. After breathing a big sigh of relief once it was done, my breath was taken away only a few weeks later," she writes on the blog.
Robach, who is married to former Melrose Place star Andrew Shue, received a call from her physicians last week. "I thought I was going back in for a few follow-up images, only to find out in a matter of hours that I had breast cancer."
This Thursday, Robach will undergo a bilateral mastectomy, the same surgery actress Angelina Jolie underwent earlier this year (Jolie had the surgery for preventive reasons). She's hoping that going public with the news will persuade other women to follow her example.
"I can only hope my story will do the same and inspire every woman who hears it to get a mammogram, to take a self-exam," she blogged. "No excuses. It is the difference between life and death."