Kym Douglas has opened up about her breast cancer journey, saying her diagnosis went from ‘stage 0 to stage 3 in one second’ after doctors discovered hidden tumors during her double mastectomy.
The television host, 61, shared her story with Today host Sheinelle Jones during a segment that aired on Thursday’s episode of the morning show. Like many women, Douglas delayed getting her mammogram because she was busy.
‘I’m fine. I don’t have to go,’ she recalled telling herself. ‘Six months turn into three years and I hadn’t gone for my mammogram.’
Opening up: Kym Douglas, 61, shared her breast cancer story in a segment that aired on Thursday’s episode of the Today show
Candid: Douglas told Today host Sheinelle Jones that she delayed getting her mammogram because she was busy and went three years before she got screened in 2018
Shock: Douglas was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is also known as stage 0 breast cancer
When she was finally screened in 2018, she was asked to come back for more tests and was later diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which is also known as stage 0 breast cancer.
DCIS is characterized by the presence of abnormal cells in the lining of the breast milk duct that have become cancer but have not spread further.
Many would assume that stage 0 breast cancer would require minimal treatment, but Douglas said she still needed surgery.
‘If you see a breast, it was like someone took glitter and went poof. And there was little glitter of calcification all over,’ she explained. ‘So I couldn’t get a lumpectomy and I couldn’t watch it — we had to remove the breast.’
scary: Douglas opted to have a double mastectomy and was told she wouldn’t need any further treatment, but then doctors found tumors behind her breast tissue during the procedure
Hard to handle: Douglas’ diagnosis ‘went from stage 0 to stage 3 in one second,’ and she had to undergo more than 18 weeks of chemotherapy and over seven weeks of radiation
Recovery: Douglas said it was ironic that she would be talking about beauty during her television appearances when she didn’t have hair or eyebrows
Douglas opted to undergo a double mastectomy and planned on returning to her life as if nothing had happened after the surgery.
She was initially told she would need six weeks to recover without follow-up treatment, but then doctors found three tumors behind her breast tissue during the procedure.
‘I went from stage 0 to stage 3 in one second and everything changed,’ she said. ‘The room started spinning. Everything stopped, and I knew in that exact moment that my life would never be the same. I was never going back.’
Douglas continued to make television appearances as she underwent more than 18 weeks of chemotherapy and over seven weeks of radiation.
‘Here’s the irony: I’m on camera every day, talking about beauty, health, and wellness. I have no hair, I’m green, I lost 27 pounds, I have no eyebrows, I have no eyelashes,’ she recalled.
Family: Douglas shares a son, Hunter, and two stepchildren with her husband Jerry Douglas
Lifeline: The TV host credited the support of her family and friends with helping her get through the grueling treatments
Feeling good: Douglas has been cancer-free for the past three and a half years
‘It made me really look at what I was doing, what I was projecting to women, and how important…our inner beauty is, because I didn’t have any outer beauty.’
Douglas, who shares a son and two stepchildren with her husband Jerry Douglas, credited the support of her family and friends with helping her get through the grueling treatments.
She has been cancer-free for the past three and a half years, but she wants other women to know the importance of taking care of their health.
‘You do have to take care of yourself because you can’t pour from an empty vessel,” she said. ‘It really is true that old cliché — it’s what’s inside that matters and the outside, it comes and goes. It really does.
‘Being bald, having nothing on your face, I still found happiness and joy in living.’