NBC's Andrea Mitchell announces breast cancer prognosis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Andrea Mitchell, NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent and wife of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, announced on air Wednesday that she has breast cancer.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell of NBC arrive at the White House Correspondents dinner at the Washington Hilton in Washington, April 30, 2005. REUTERS/Hans Ericsson HE

“I had planned to be hiking in Wyoming last week, but instead discovered that I am now among the one in eight women in this country -- incredibly, one in eight -- who have had breast cancer,” said the host of “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC.

Not only will one in eight women be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of a lifetime, but risk of developing breast cancer increases with family history and age, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Mitchell reported that the cancer was found during a recent annual screening and had been caught in its early stages.

“I’m looking at this as another of life’s lessons,” said Mitchell, who described her prognosis as “terrific.”

The National Library of Medicine emphasized the importance of early breast exams because, “Early breast cancer does not usually cause symptoms,” its entry for breast cancer states.

Mitchell encouraged other women to get regular screenings.

“For you women out there and the men who love you, screening matters,” she said. “Do it. This disease can be completely curable if you find it, at the right time.”

Mitchell began her personal announcement with “how I spent my summer vacation,” and pledged continued support for breast cancer research - now all the more personal.

Most advanced breast cancer cases are found in women over age 50, and women are 100 percent more likely to get breast cancer then men, though men can get breast cancer as well. Roughly 20 to 30 percent of women with breast cancer have a family history of the disease, according to the National Library of Medicine.

The National Cancer Institute provides a tool online to help determine risk of breast cancer:

Signing off, Mitchell said, “I’ll see all of you tomorrow.”

Writing by Molly O’Toole