Jill Martin made her return to "TODAY" for the first time in three weeks since her breast cancer diagnosis and double mastectomy.
“I grew up ... with my mother saying you never know what’s going on with someone on the inside,” the Shop "TODAY" contributor said. “I look like myself, but internally, it’s very tough.”
She told "TODAY" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie that in the three weeks since they had seen each other, she underwent a double mastectomy and found out she had Stage 2 breast cancer.?Martin first shared her breast cancer diagnosis?on "TODAY" on July 17.
During the surgery, her doctors found an aggressive tumor that had spread into one lymph node and removed more than a dozen additional lymph nodes, Martin said.
“That’s the first step. And so I’m grateful that we caught it,” she continued. “I’m grateful that there is a treatment plan going forward, but it’s a long road, and emotionally —?and anybody will tell you this —?it is earth shattering.”
Her surgeon, Dr. Elisa Port, a surgical oncologist at Mount Sinai in New York City, joined her to discuss how the surgery went.
“It could not have gone better. Jill went in with the best attitude I’ve ever seen in terms of, ‘We’re going to take this,’ and it’s really a collaborative thing as a surgeon, and it’s such an honor to take care of her,” Port said. “The surgery went great. It generates a lot of information, Savannah, in terms of guiding the next steps of treatment for her.”
The?next steps for Martin’s cancer treatment?include undergoing a full hysterectomy to reduce her risk of ovarian cancer, taking an anti-hormonal drug for the next five years and finalizing whether she’ll need chemotherapy, Martin said.
She added that she’s received messages from thousands of viewers, some of whom underwent genetic testing at her urging to find out if they have gene mutations that can increase the risk of cancer.
“My main message as to why I’m doing this in real time with our viewers, is ... I was up to date on mammograms and sonograms. ... Had I caught this genetic testing earlier, I would have been able to take measures,” she said. “I feel like I’m lucky I caught it, but I don’t want anyone else to have to go through the cancer part.”
Guthrie then asked what has been getting her through her treatment.
“Every day is like,” Martin said, pausing as she started to get emotional. “But you know what’s getting me through tomorrow??Steals and Deals!"
Guthrie replied, astonished: “Are you doing Steals and Deals? You can’t keep Jill down!”
Martin then shared the mentality that’s keeping her motivated.
“I said you could either stay home and cry under the covers, or I can come to work and be myself,” she said. “And I’m not going to let cancer take that away from me.”