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How Hoda Kotb's Cancer Diagnosis Changed Her Life and Inspired Others

Cancer-free since 2007, TODAY co-anchor Hoda Kotb has become a beacon of support to the community.

By Jessica White

As one of the most admired women in America, TODAY's Hoda Kotb stands out not just for her infectious warmth and captivating presence but also for her extraordinary resilience.

How to Watch

Watch TODAY weekdays at 7AM ET on NBC.

Kotb has charmed audiences far and wide with her magnetic personality, insightful interviews, and unwavering optimism in the face of adversity. Her sincerity comes from the heart: Behind that radiant charm is a story of immense strength.

RELATED: Hoda Kotb Is So Relatable Squeezing on the Train in NYC During Her Commute

The TODAY co-anchor received a life-altering breast cancer diagnosis in 2007, and her cancer journey is a testament to her incredible perseverance. It's also led her to become a proud advocate for cancer awareness and a beacon of strength for others battling their own diagnoses.

Nowadays, Kotb is cancer-free, and she's proudly proclaimed how her breast cancer diagnosis gave her what she needed to become "fearless."

Hoda Kotb on TODAY on Wednesday, June 12, 2024.

When was Hoda Kotb diagnosed with breast cancer?

Kotb was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2007 at the age of 43.

During a a March 2023 episode of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, she spoke about her decision to go public with her diagnosis. "When I was diagnosed [in 2007], I wasn’t going to say anything about it, and I wanted to forget about it, but someone encouraged me to say something,” Kotb revealed.

She continued by explaining that there were "so many upsides" to going public with her diagnosis, but "the one downside is people look at you with pity. And I have to say, for me personally, that's one of the hardest looks to ever get."

RELATED: Hoda Kotb's Kids: All About Her Daughters, Haley and Hope

In a 2020 interview with Cancer Connect, Kotb confirmed that she received her diagnosis after her first-ever mammogram.

"I ask people all the time why they haven’t gotten checked for various things, and here I was not getting screened,” she said.

After undergoing a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, Kotb was eventually declared cancer-free.

Kotb's 2010 autobiography Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee delved into her treatment experience. In October 2012, TODAY celebrated Kotb's fifth anniversary of being cancer-free, and she invited her OGBYN and the surgeon who performed her mastectomy on to the show to raise awareness about early detection.

Hoda Kotb 2007

How did Hoda Kotb's cancer diagnosis affect her work on TODAY?

Kotb continued working on TODAY throughout her breast cancer treatment, and even earned a promotion.

At time, NBC had been planning to add a new segment to the show — the fourth hour — and Kotb had her eyes on the prize. 

"I became fearless, like wildly fearless," Kotb explained in November 2023 TODAY episode. "I was always concerned. I was a pleaser beforehand. Suddenly, I was like, 'It could be over.' All of a sudden, you feel brave. It's like if you could take a pill and be completely brave, what would you do right now that you're scared of? That's what that [diagnosis] gives you."

Kotb thus tossed aside her hesitations and pitched herself to the "head honcho" as the segment's co-host. Needless to say, Kotb got the gig: She has been the proud co-anchor of TODAY's fourth hour (now Hoda & Jenna) since 2008.

RELATED: Al Roker Holding Hoda Kotb's Daughters' Hands Backstage on TODAY Is Too Precious

"Every woman who survives breast cancer gets this takeaway: We get, 'You can’t scare me.'” Kotb told Cancer Connect. “You get a bad card, but here’s that window that God opens: You can’t scare me."

"And there’s nothing better than getting that because small things don’t matter as much," she added. "Because you get rid of the people in your life who are hurting you, because you hold on tight to those who help you. And it’s a moment of complete and total focus because, for once in your life, you get it.”

Hoda Kotb appears on Season 21 of Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen

Watch TODAY weekdays at 7 AM ET on NBC.

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