Sara Sidner, CNN News Central co-anchor and senior national correspondent, revealed during her mid-morning program that she has been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
In a heartfelt and emotional moment that aired towards the end of the AM block of CNN News Central, Sidner opened up about her diagnosis, telling viewers to recall the names of eight women in their life that they’ve known and loved and that statistically one of those eight would end up getting cancer.
“I am that one in eight in my friend group,” Sidner revealed. “I have never been sick a day in 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.”
Acknowledging that it is hard to “say out loud,” Sidner went on to reveal that she is in the second month of chemo treatments and will be undergoing radiation and a double mastectomy.”
She noted that stage 3 breast cancer was “not a death sentence anymore for the vast majority of women,” she was shocked to learn that Black women are 41% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.
With an urgent message to women viewers, Sidner said, “So to all my sisters, Black and white and brown out there, please, for the love of God, get your mammograms every single year. Do your self-exams. Try to catch it before I did.”
In an interview with People, Sidner revealed she first learned that there may be a cancer diagnosis while she was on assignment in the Middle East covering the Israel-Hamas war.
“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.” She added, “In some weird way, it helped me with my own perspective on what I am going to be facing.”
Upon returning to New York, Sidner, who is 51 years old, went for a biopsy, which confirmed that the lump she had noticed on her breast was indeed cancerous and had progressed to stage 3.
“When I got the news, I didn’t tell anybody, not even my mother or husband or sisters or friends,” she recalls. “I just needed to process it.”
Sidner, despite her diagnosis, has kept busy, continuing her anchoring duties, appearing on the 17th Annual CNN Heroes awards show this past December, and being part of CNN’s New Year’s Eve live coverage.
She refuses to put her life on hold, but after nearing the end of her first month of Chemo treatment, she acknowledges that she is “fatigued and I am slower, and I have to be more thoughtful about how I take care of myself.”
Sidner ended her cancer diagnosis announcement on CNN with some positive vibes; fighting back tears and the cracking of her voice, she said, “Now here’s something that I could never ever have predicted would happen to me: I have thanked cancer for choosing me. I’m learning no matter what hell we go through in life that I am still madly in love with this life, 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.
And 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.”
Watch Sidner’s announcement below: