“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts graces the March issue cover of Prevention where she candidly speaks about her battle with breast cancer, African Americans in the media and more.
On her breast cancer and recovery:
“I found my lump in a self-exam! Because I was familiar with my body and the lumps, I knew this one felt different. It was in a different place on my breast, and it was hard. If I hadn’t been doing self-exams, I wouldn’t have known that”
“I had a doctor’s appointment [with a new physician] already scheduled when I found the lump. And, full disclosure, the last mammogram I had was in 2003 or 2004, so I’d gone a few years without having one. I called the doctor’s office and said, ‘Hey, I found a lump—can you move up the exam?’ They said, ‘No, we’re booked solid.’ And I’m thinking to myself, Wow, this really happens. I reached out to Diane [Sawyer] and [ABC colleague] Deborah Roberts. Deborah gave me a referral.”
“As exhilarated as I was after my treatment ended, there’s also this feeling of Well, who’s watching me now? Because for almost a year—especially at the end, when you’re going in for radiation every day for six and a half week—you felt like someone’s watching you. And then suddenly it’s like, ‘Go, run along. You’ll be okay.’ I was in a funk. I was depressed. Also you’re mad at yourself because you’re thinking, I’m supposed to be happy. The treatment’s over. My hair is growing back.”
“Oh, yeah, and my doctors warned me. They were laughing at me because I was like, ‘Oh, I can’t wait!’ And they said, ’Trust us.’ It lasted the whole spring. My treatment ended in March/April of ’08. It wasn’t until the end of that summer that I started to feel I wasn’t depressed. Even when I went on vacation to Saint Lucia, I was kind of depressed, even though it was such a beautiful place.
On how being fit helped her fight cancer
“Yes. It was part of the reason I almost didn’t go public with my diagnosis—I was embarrassed. I felt, Oh, I’ve always talked about exercising. And I got cancer. And then I realized it’s a great example of showing that cancer can hit anyone at any time. And if you’ve done the right things prior, that’s going to help you.”
“Before, I would play a little hoops, a little tennis. Now it’s more yoga, Pilates, stretching, some light weight work, push-ups, sit-ups, resistance things. When I used to live on the eleventh floor, I would take the steps. I don’t do that so much now. I’m taking the elevator a bit more these days.”
On being the only dual-female national anchor team
“Only ones to have ever done it. But I also love the fact that people didn’t talk about it too much. It was just like, Well, why wouldn’t they have a team like that?”
On people of color on national TV not being reflective of America
“No, it’s not. Look at the White House. It’s not just the anchors but also the correspondents. And for me, even more so in management, the producers behind the scenes too. I know how difficult it is to break in and how you really have to have a champion. I was very fortunate that I had people who did that—not people of color, not always women. Many of them were white men. I like John Walsh, who’s a top executive of ESPN and will always be a family friend. It disturbed me when I was in sports and I didn’t see people of color as coaches or in the front office. And it disturbs me that I’m not seeing it in this portion of the industry.”
On what she hasn’t done enough of
“That’s hard. I’ve had a great life. Traveled the world. Talked with President Obama right after the first dance after his inauguration. Spoke with Nelson Mandela’s wife in South Africa. I don’t really think I’ve taken the time to actually appreciate those moments. And I’ve always tried to be very cool about it. Not arrogant, but just kind of taking it in stride.”
The march issue on newsstands now.