With her characteristic poise, Christiane Amanpour stared directly into the camera just as she does every day to deliver the news. Only this time, it was personal. The world-renowned CNN chief international anchor shared with her viewers Monday that she has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Amanpour, 63, told her audience that she has had a “successful major surgery” to remove it and that she is undergoing “several months of chemotherapy,” hoping for the “very best possible long-term prognosis.”
“I’m confident,” she said at the beginning of her daily program that focuses on international news.
The British-Iranian television journalist is known primarily for her extensive, bold coverage of international conflicts, including the Persian Gulf War, the genocide in Rwanda and the Bosnian War, making her one of the most prominent war correspondents of her generation.
Her reporting has been recognized with a number of awards including 11 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, three duPont-Columbia Journalism awards and two George Polk Awards, according to PBS, where she hosts a nightly program that covers global affairs.
She has also received several honorary degrees and is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of the Press and the Safety of Journalists.
Because of her diagnosis, Amanpour has been off the air for the past four weeks, a period she described as “a bit of a roller coaster.”
In her on-air announcement from London, Amanpour said ovarian cancer affects “millions of women around the world,” and explained that her decision to share the news of her condition was “in the interest of transparency” but in particular to emphasize the importance of early diagnosis.
She urged women “to educate themselves on this disease, to get all the regular screenings and scans that you can, to always listen to your bodies.”
“And of course to ensure that your legitimate medical concerns are not dismissed or diminished.”
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage. It is the eighth most commonly occurring cancer in women and the 18th most commonly occurring cancer overall.
More than 313,000 new cases were reported in 2020, according to the Global Cancer Observatory.
Amanpour also said she was fortunate to have health insurance through her employer and “incredible doctors” treating her “in a country underpinned by of course the brilliant NHS” – Britain’s National Health Service.
The announcement prompted an outpouring of support and encouragement on social media from colleagues at CNN and countless journalism personalities, wishing her a full recovery and commending her public announcement.
“Thank you for being open,” NBC’s chief foreign affairs correspondent and anchor Andrea Mitchell wrote on Twitter. “It is so important and typical of how strong and brave you’ve always been. Courage and honesty is your trademark. You will beat this too.
In a statement, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker applauded Amanpour’s “candor, bravery and always working towards the greater good,” CNN reported.
“As a cancer survivor, I too encourage people to listen to their bodies and get all early cancer screenings available to them. From our CNN family, we wish Christiane the very best for a full and speedy recovery,” he said.
After her brief statement, Amanpour carried on with her program.
“That’s my news, now let’s get to the news,” she said.