Rancic told TODAY anchor Ann Curry that her desire to have children was a big part of her decision tohave a double mastectomy. She had previously undergone a double lumpectomy (where just the tumor is surgically taken out of the breast, so that the entire breast does not have to be removed) but it was not completely successful.
"If I had chosen to just do another lumpectomy and then do radiation and then do anti-estrogen therapy, which means two to five years of medication, that basically puts me into early menopause, then I would have to put off having a baby for several years," Rancic said on TODAY. "So that was something we took into account. But to be honest, at the end it all came down to was just choosing to live and not looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life."
NBC Washington reported that if she had just had another lumpectomy, with radiation and anti-estrogen therapy, the chance of cancer returning could be as high as 40 percent, while a mastectomy would reduce the chance to less than 1 percent.
Mastectomy, or surgical removal of the breast or breasts, can be done both preventively -- for women who know they have a high risk of breast cancer, and don't want to take any chances -- or, in Rancic's case, as a treatment for breast cancer.
During a mastectomy, doctors remove all breast tissue from the breast. A doctor may recommend mastectomy over lumpectomy and radiation if a person has breast cancer has returned after previous radiation treatments, if you're pregnant and you can't undergo radiation, if you have a high genetic risk for returning breast cancer, if you have more than one tumor in different areas in the breast, or if you have an extremely large tumor that doesn't leave behind much healthy tissue, among other reasons, according to the Mayo Clinic.