ABC’s Amy Robach had a mammogram on national TV last month to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the publicity stunt may have in fact saved her life. Today on Good Morning America, the anchor announced that she has breast cancer, and she will undergo a double mastectomy Thursday.

Per the NY Post, Robach was “initially reluctant to undergo the test on TV,” as I think many of us would be. She eventually agreed to the segment with the intention of spreading awareness and persuading viewers to have their own mammograms.

While no one should ever feel obligated to deal with an illness publicly, speaking on national television about how her mammogram unexpectedly saved her life is bound to encourage some women to take more active roles in their health. Robach wrote a touching post on ABC’s website where she talked about the necessity of having mammograms in order to assure early detection:

And while everyone who gets cancer is clearly unlucky, I got lucky by catching it early, and there are so many people to thank for making sure I did. Every producer, every person who urged me to do this, changed my trajectory.

The doctors told me bluntly: “That mammogram just saved your life.”

I was also told this, for every person who has cancer, at least 15 lives are saved because people around them become vigilant. They go to their doctors, they get checked.

I can only hope my story will do the same and inspire every woman who hears it to get a mammogram, to take a self exam. No excuses. It is the difference between life and death.

This is an excellent reminder to be vigilant about our health and educated about our options. It’s amazing to me just how much can go wrong with breasts, even outside of breast cancer, and we should all try to be as informed as possible about risks to our funbags.

I can personally say that at least one person (this guy) left her desk no less than three times during the writing of this post to go perform a self exam in our work bathroom. It’s appalling how long it’s been since I got in there and checked things out, but this whole situation has really shown me that there’s no time like the present. If you’re putting off a doctor’s appointment or mammogram, please do yourself a favor and go sooner rather than later. And maybe call your mom and aunts and women you love, and encourage them to do the same thing.

Click here to get information on breast health and to learn how to perform a self breast exam.

Photo: Good Morning America