Just as CNN’s Sara Sidner arrived in Israel to spend three weeks covering the Israel-Hamas conflict, she received the news that a concerning mammogram called for a biopsy. Now, she reveals she has stage 3 breast cancer.
Sidner, CNN’s senior national correspondent and the anchor of the morning edition of CNN News Central, ended her broadcast Monday morning by asking viewers to recall the names of eight women they know and love. “Statistically, one of them will get or have breast cancer,” she said. “I am that one-in-eight in my friend group.”
“I have never been sick a day of my life. I don’t smoke. I rarely drink. Breast cancer does not run in my family. And yet here I am with stage 3 breast cancer,” she said, getting visibly choked up. “It is hard to say out loud.”
Sidner told viewers that she is in her second month of chemotherapy and has radiation treatments as well as a double mastectomy on the road ahead.
“Stage 3 is not a death sentence anymore for the vast majority of women,” she continued. “But here is the reality that really shocked my system when I started to research more about breast cancer: If you happen to be a Black woman, you are 41% more likely to die from breast cancer than your white counterparts.”
The award-winning news anchor then called on her “sisters Black, white and brown” to please, “for the love of God,” get their mammograms every single year and to perform self-exams so they can hopefully catch it before she did. Sidner then said that she thanked cancer for choosing her. “I’m learning that no matter what how we go through in life, that I am still madly in love with this life,” she continued emotionally.
“And just being alive feels really different for me now. I am happier because I don’t stress about foolish little things that used to annoy me. Now every single day that I breathe another breath, I can celebrate that I am still here with you. I am here with my co-anchors, my colleagues, my family and I can love and cry and laugh and hope … and that, my dear friends, is enough.”
Sidner traveled to Israel in October to cover the Israel-Hamas war before she was informed that her mammogram results were concerning and that she would need a biopsy as soon as possible. The broadcast journalist still spent the following three weeks reporting from the war zone.
“Seeing the kind of suffering going on where I was and seeing people still live through the worst thing that has ever happened to them with grace and kindness, I was blown away by their resilience,” Sidner told People on Monday. “In some weird way, it helped me with my own perspective on what I am going to be facing.”
Shortly after Sidner returned to New York, a biopsy revealed that she had breast cancer that had advanced to stage 3. “When I got the news, I didn’t tell anybody, not even my mother or husband or sisters or friends,” she told the outlet. “I just needed to process it.”
While the anchor initially thought this was the end and began writing goodbye letters to her loved ones, after a few days of processing the diagnosis she became determined not to give up. “I just made a decision,” she told People. “I’m like, ‘No, you’re going to live and you’re going to stop this and you’re going to do every single thing in your arsenal to survive this. Period.’”
Sidner said she now approaches each new day excited for whatever comes her way. She told People that despite feeling fatigued and coping with hair loss, she hasn’t missed a day of work since receiving her diagnosis. Two days after she began her first round of chemotherapy, she was reporting from the 17th Annual CNN Heroes red carpet on Dec. 10, and then hosted a live New Year’s Eve special until 2 a.m.