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Katie Couric Makes Health Headlines

The CBS Evening News anchor is committed to broadcasting her passion for prevention, new research, and resources.

Fighting Cancer Behind the Scenes continued...

Noting the multiple other sources of health information available, Couric says she can't even remember what the world was like without facts and figures at one's fingertips. "What did people do when they wanted to research?" she says, laughing. "Did they go to the library and look it up in the Dewey decimal system?"

The blessing of the information age is that Google pulls up 18.5 million hits for "colon cancer" in less than a tenth of a second. But the problem, says Couric, is that many of the links are not particularly legitimate. Just as it is worth taking the time to find a doctor who is a good match, Couric says it is worth taking the time to identify web sites that provide accurate, updated information and put it in perspective for consumers.

These outlets are critical not only for providing facts about diseases, testing, and prevention, Couric says, but also for the emotional support. "I wish I knew about web sites like WebMD when Jay was sick. For those hungry for information and for a connection, I think places like that -- with chat rooms and an online communities -- are invaluable."

Couric says she felt incredibly isolated and lonely during that period. "It would have been great to say, 'Hey, does anyone know about this clinical trial?' It might have helped me at least feel like I wasn't doing it alone. When you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, you're thrust into this world of difficult choices. It's a very jarring and scary experience."

When it comes to choosing her own doctors, Couric places a premium on "personal referrals and geographic desirability. In our hectic lives, we don't have time to travel 40 minutes to get to a doctor. My doctor is nearby, and the girls' pediatrician is just a few blocks away. I'm lucky -- I have access to some of the best doctors in the country through my work, but there are so many fine doctors out there. Ask your friends. The comfort level you feel with physicians is so important. You need to establish a relationship with the doctor so you are comfortable talking about your symptoms and underlying reasons that might not otherwise come up. It's important to feel like that doctor cares."

Healthy Attitude

Finally adjusted to a new work schedule (broadcasting in the evening instead of the early morning), Couric says her own health care plan focuses on attitude as she continues to juggle single motherhood with her job and her advocacy commitments.

"I try to take care of myself, but I don't spend my time worrying about things," she says one afternoon from her studio, between bites of Rice Krispies. "More than ever, I appreciate getting up and feeling well. When you and your family are healthy, that's such a gift. I try to be mindful of that all the time."

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