Katie Couric opens up about her experience with her husband’s colorectal cancer

In 1997, Katie Couric, the CBS News anchor and managing editor, and husband Jay Monahan first learned that he had colon cancer. Monahan died nine months after that, at age 42. Since that time, Couric has become a tireless advocate for colon cancer screening, early detection and prevention to try to spare other families the loss her family suffered.

After her husband’s diagnosis, Couric’s off-screen journey was extremely difficult and challenging to endure. Like anyone, Katie and her husband wanted to maintain whatever sense of normalcy they had left — Jay working up until a few months before his death. Couric states, “Sometimes it felt like it would be impossible to be a cheery morning television co-anchor, and other days doing two hours of live TV was a welcome distraction from the constant fear and worry.” Likewise, Katie describes approaching her two daughters as one of the hardest things she has ever had to do. Her daughters, ages 1 & 5, could not fully grasp the idea of their father’s death – feeling isolated and confused.

To help grieve, accept and move on from her husband’s death, Couric channeled her energy into co-founding the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance in March 2000, both to support research and to increase awareness of screening’s potentially lifesaving role. Couric helped raise public awareness of colorectal cancer by undergoing a colonoscopy that was taped and shown on NBC’s “The Today Show”. The event was part of a weeklong series to promote colon and rectal (colorectal) cancer awareness and screening. Following that, research showed that the number of colonoscopies increased by almost 20 percent nationwide.

Whether your family has a history of colon cancer or not, screening is recommended for everyone beginning at age 50. Those with a history may wish to discuss with their primary care physicians the option of earlier screenings.
The doctors at Genensis Healthcare Partners have designed their colonoscopy procedure for your comfort – most of our patients find the procedure easy to tolerate with minimal recovery time. Most patients are able to return to normal activities the following day. Should you have additional questions about our colonoscopy procedure, please call to make your appointment with one of our highly trained gastroenterologists.