Former co-host of the ABC reality dance competition show Dancing with the Stars Samantha Harris has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. She has decided to undergo a double mastectomy later this month. Last fall, Harris found a lump in her right breast. Although the mammogram she received came out negative, the TV personality went to see a breast cancer specialist a few months later.
The 40-year-old was not expecting the news she received about her diagnosis. However, Harris said she tried to remain calm because she needed to focus and listen to what the doctors were telling her. The information was important for her and her family to know. “The realization sort of overtook me,” she said during an interview with Brooke Anderson.
The former Entertainment Tonight correspondent is a mother of two children. Her decision to go through with a double mastectomy is fueled by her desire to be there for her little girls. “My daughters are three and six years old,” Harris said. “All they’re concerned about is to have mommy active and present for everything.”
Before Harris was diagnosed with breast cancer, she supported breast cancer awareness. She also volunteers for charities such as What A Pair, The Revlon Run/Walk and Feeding America. The TV personality is no stranger to loss. Her father passed away when she was 22 years old. “I’m 40,” she said. “I’m a lot closer to his age at death than he was when he had me and so those are the thoughts. No matter how positive of a diagnosis as I have, it doesn’t keep the demons of fear from taking over your mind and your thought process. I will be here to plan my daughters’ weddings and they better like the dress I pick.”
Harris was left with two options for treatment: a second lumpectomy with radiation or a double mastectomy. After making her final decision to go with the latter, the former correspondent felt calmer and more control of the situation. “I was sick of feeling the way that I did in the days after the diagnosis,” she said.
The 40-year-old is known for co-hosting seven seasons of Dancing with the Stars alongside Tom Bergeron. Brooke Burke-Charvet replaced her, and currently, Erin Andrews co-hosts the dancing competition. Burke-Charvet was fired after working on the show for seven seasons. Harris also worked at Entertainment Tonight from 2010 to 2012. Harris married her husband Michael Hess in 2005. Their first daughter, Josselyn Sydney Harris, was born Sept. 23, 2007. The couple’s second daughter, Hillary Madison Hess, was born Jan. 19, 2011.
Harris announced her breast cancer diagnosis April 9. She will have surgery to remove both breasts later this month. The 40-year-old explained surgeons sat her down and explained through diagrams what her diagnosis meant. She realized she had breast cancer before the doctors actually specified. She admitted her initial reactions to the news were overwhelming, and a lot of information was given to her all at once. It’s not like in the movies where they sit down across a table in their office and say, “Well, you have cancer.”
Opinion By April Littleton