'Weather Network' host opens up about breast cancer diagnosis: 'Get screened'

Nicole Karkic looks out the window while wearing a white blouse. breast cancer diagnosis
Canadian meteorologist Nicole Karkic opened up to Yahoo Canada about her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment plan. (Photo via Instagram/nicolekarkic)

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign that aims to draw attention to the condition. The goal is to get as many people as possible involved in raising awareness and funds to help support life-changing research.

And while it's an ideal time to acknowledge the progress that has been made against the disease, it's important to note that one in eight women in Canada are projected to develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

During October, Yahoo Canada will be highlighting some of our past interviews with women who have opened up about their breast cancer journeys.

Last month, Yahoo Canada spoke to "Weather Network" host Nicole Karkic, who spoke candidly about her breast cancer diagnosis.

The meteorologist revealed that although she's hopeful she'll beat the disease, her journey so far hasn't been easy.

"I got told I had cancer at the end of July. It was pretty heavy...I kind of knew that something was wrong because they had to do a biopsy and they wanted me to see them in person… I wanted to cry but was trying to listen to the information," she explained. "When I told my husband he was more upset than I was because I think I was just in shock. But I wanted to make sure that he was fine."

"I keep on trusting what the doctor is saying. He explained that this is not a death sentence."Nicole Karkic

Karkic recently shared that she tested positive for the BRCA2 gene, which increases her risk for both ovarian and breast cancer. As such, the television personality was put through a series of tests which led to doctors finding cancer in her left breast.

"The word cancer is so loaded. So when I was told I have breast cancer, it was very surreal," she wrote in a candid Instagram post that informed followers of her diagnosis.

In the post, Karkic also shared a graphic explaining that women who are BRCA2 positive have a 40 to 55 per cent greater chance of getting breast cancer and a 15 to 25 per cent increased risk of ovarian cancer.

However, she revealed that as it's stage one cancer, she is "extremely lucky" and has a strong chance of beating the disease.

"Doctors have been positive. This is a stage one cancer, it is very small and it is being caught early. Also, I was swiftly scheduled for surgery...a mastectomy and reconstruction," she added.

"I keep on trusting what the doctor is saying. He explained that this is not a death sentence. This is treatable and you’re going to book your surgery date and you’re going to live your life," Karkic further explained in the interview.

Until the surgery is done, Karkic won't know what her treatment plan will look like, but explained that it will likely involve "hormone therapy."

"I’m extremely lucky because they aren’t talking about chemotherapy. I will most likely have to do hormone therapy. But they won’t know what to do for sure because they will biopsy my lymph nodes to see if it’s spread, which they don’t think it has at this point," she said. "After the biopsy and the pathology report they will come up with my protocol. The cancer has really good characteristics because we are catching it so early, which is awesome. They can’t even feel it, it’s so small."

"Here’s my even bigger message, a reminder to breast screen regularly ladies."Nicole Karkic

On Instagram, Karkic explained why she decided to share her story with the world.

"Naturally, the state of my health has me thinking pink, a colour that symbolizes breast cancer awareness. So here I am, with why I even decided to share that I was BRCA2 positive in the first place. It was to spread more information about genetic testing, and now here’s my even bigger message, a reminder to breast screen regularly ladies," she said.

In the interview, Karkic elaborated on why she went public with her diagnosis and gave women some "important advice."

"I’m a public figure so I wanted to tell people who watch me on television where I am and why I’m not present. I wanted to just be honest," she explained. "And I have some important advice for women, especially in their 40s — ask your doctor to get tested or get screened. So many women aren’t staying on top of their health! But honestly, if this wasn’t something that was flagged for me, my cancer would be a more aggressive form as I would have waited until I felt something, and that's terrifying."

"Early testing is so important. Go test for peace of mind, go cross off your pap, your mammograms."Nicole Karkic

Despite the stress and uncertainty associated with her diagnosis, the meteorologist has found a silver lining.

"Everyone is so supportive I can’t even keep up with the positive comments. It’s been so nice to feel so supported which is a nice distraction from what is happening," she said with a sigh of relief. "I feel like I’m not in the throws of it yet, but there are so many examples of women with breast cancer who beat it, which is inspiring. It makes me feel a bit more secure and hopeful that I can beat it too."

"Early testing is so important. Go test for peace of mind, go cross off your pap, your mammograms," Karkic concluded.

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