KSAT 12 News anchorwoman Leslie Mouton took a second (sound) bite out of the Big Apple Thursday, spreading the news about her struggle with breast cancer.
Mouton appeared on the evening ABC news program "Prime Time" anchored by Diane Sawyer. It was her second appearance on a national broadcast to spread her story of survival, followed by a previous segment on "Good Morning America."
Despite the potential to dwell on the negative facets of her diagnosis, Mouton's interview was decidedly upbeat. Like her earlier appearance that same day, Mouton's message was one of hope, fueled by what she said is a desire to inspire other cancer survivors.
Mouton's turn in the national spotlight came from her anchoring of her local newscast last week completely bald, a side effect of the chemotherapy treatments she has undergone to treat her cancer. Her appearance without her custom-made wig was the climax of updates on her condition to her viewers, presented in the form of her "Leslie's Diary" series.
Ironically, the aspect of Mouton's story that has captivated the national media -- her decision to do the news bald -- was the most traumatic side effect from her cancer, she told a national audience.
"I didn't cry when I found I had cancer," Mouton told Chase. "I didn't cry when I went through surgery. I cried when I left the oncologist's office and he said to me 'You're going to lose your hair, accept it.' "
he loss of her hair was traumatic on many levels, both aesthetic and emotional. She noted how, as a television personality seen by thousands of people each day, the specter of losing her hair was daunting.
But the hair loss transcended mere telegenic concerns: "It's the same way with all women; that is the most feared part of their cancer, losing their hair to chemo."
Ultimately, her reaction to that inevitable side effect -- presenting the news sans wig -- has proved inspirational for local and national viewers. While she eschews the "courageous" tag that has been used to described her action, she said she decided to publicly go bald as a show of solidarity and support for other breast cancer patients.
Mouton previously was interviewed by Sawyer on "Good Morning America."
During that interview, Mouton spoke candidly about her personal and public battle. She also spoke about how that battle has changed her personally.
Before leaving for New York Wednesday afternoon, Mouton said that she agreed to the interview in hopes of helping other breast cancer victims.
At the conclusion of the "Prime Time" segment, Mouton was asked if she attributed her positive attitude to her recovery and current cancer-free status. Her answer to that question
neatly encapsulated her mission of going to New York City to spread her message of hope.
"I think it's crucial," Mouton said, her voice forceful and steady. "Even if the cancer gets me in the long run, at least I'm going to love life to the very end. And I'm going to embrace it and I'm going to enjoy it and I'm going to thank God every day for the day I have."
Mouton, who started losing her hair after chemotherapy, decided not to wear the hair piece to show her viewers that her battle with breast cancer is real.
In addition to "Good Morning America," Mouton also received calls from "Inside Edition" and another national news program.
Mouton discovered a lump, later confirmed as a cancerous growth, a few months ago during a breast self-exam. She had surgery to remove the growth, and has undergone four treatments of chemotherapy.
Mouton keeps her viewers updated on her fight against cancer by taking them into hospital rooms and by keeping a diary on KSAT 12's Web site.