Vincent Tullo/The New York Times
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour is opening up about how her cancer diagnosis changed her life.
Last April the international journalist and news anchor, 64, went to her doctor in London for an annual screening, when a grapefruit-sized cyst was discovered on her right ovary.
“I was shocked,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, adding, “I immediately asked if it was malignant. They told me, ‘You have to have an MRI, a CT scan, more blood tests. what we’ve seen.’ “
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On May 5, 2021, Amanpour was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian clear cell carcinoma. Ten days later she had major surgery followed by 18 weeks of chemotherapy. Now in remission, she’s sharing her experience to spread awareness about early detection.
“Ovarian cancer is known as the invisible killer,” she says. “Get all the scans that you can. We women know better what’s going on with our own bodies than anybody. We can trust ourselves. If there’s something wrong, pursue it.”
For Amanpour, the frightening ordeal has given her new perspective. “I’ve spent my career covering genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda, wars in Afghanistan, Iraq — all really dangerous stuff,” she says. “And I’ve survived all that. But this is very different.”
She credits medical experts and support from loved ones including her 22-year-old son Darius John (his dad is her ex-husband, former US Assistant Secretary of State James Rubin) for getting her through the tough times.
“I let my friends and family take care of me,” she says. “That part was a pleasure and a privilege and something very different for me. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and feel those normal emotions.”
Just six months already after in her chemotherapy, Amanpour is the field doing what she loves. In March, she spent two weeks in Ukraine covering the Russian invasion.
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“I hadn’t faced shooting and shelling in a while,” she says. “That was incredibly important to be able to get back in the field.”
Now, as Amanpour looks to the future, she’s cherishing each day.
“I am thinking about how I want to live the rest of my really good years,” she says. Even romance is on the table. “That’s one of the things my brush with mortality has made me want to pursue. Two years of COVID, cancer and chemo have cramped my style in that department. But now I have a whole new lease on life; I’m looking forward again !”