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How NBC10's Tracy Davidson found gratitude after being diagnosed with breast cancer

“I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say, ‘Oh, I was fine the whole time,’” the anchor said. “I definitely had some meltdowns. But overall, I felt a sense of gratitude [that] I caught it early, that I listened to my body."
NBC10 anchor Tracy Davidson
NBC10 anchor Tracy DavidsonCourtesy of Tracy Davidson

NBC10 anchor Tracy Davidson thought she might have been wearing a bra that didn’t fit well, or that she’d eaten too much salt or drank too much wine. Her mind never identified the anomaly she detected in her breast in late 2014 as a lump.

“I know that we all tend to blow things off when it comes to our health,” Davidson told Know Your Value. She was on the verge of doing just that until her partner came up behind her with a wraparound hug. “Honey, what is that?” she remembered him saying.

Davidson, who co-anchors the 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. newscast For NBC10 in Philadelphia couldn’t answer the question. So on Jan. 2, 2015 — a Friday after the holiday week — she called her doctor and requested a prescription for a mammogram. The doctor also suggested Davidson to come in for an exam.

“I feel now this was my first blessing,” Davidson said of her doctor who promptly returned her call and happened to be working on that sleepy Friday. When Davidson went in, the physician felt not one lump but two.

The second went undetected by Davidson and by the mammogram she underwent shortly thereafter. But after an MRI and a biopsy, the doctors confirmed that Davidson had breast cancer.

“I sort of knew it,” Davidson told Know Your Value. “I was having the conversation with myself driving home after one of the tests, having a conversation with God… I said, ‘Wow, wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants?’” Davidson recalled. “‘You blessed me with all this hair. What if I lose it in whatever chemo I'm going to have?”

Davidson, who has a Masters in holistic spirituality and earned a religious studies certificate after college, leaned heavily on her faith throughout her diagnosis and treatment.

“When I got the call, I said, ‘I knew that was coming.’ But almost immediately, I felt, again, incredibly blessed,” she said. The doctor said that because the affected area was small, they’d be able to cure her through surgery and radiation.

NBC10 anchor Tracy Davidson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.Courtesy of Tracy Davidson

And so on the same day Philadelphia was struck with a major snowstorm, Davidson underwent surgery. It was a big news day, and her colleagues wondered what kept her out of the office for four days. She shared the news only with her two co-anchors, Vai Sikahema and Chris Cato, and for several months afterwards, they had her back as she switched to a four-hour-a-day work schedule and took sporadic days off for doctor’s appointments and radiation.

“I just came in and did the shows,” Davidson said. “They did everything else.”

Davidson has worked for NBC10 for nearly 24 years and earned 11 Emmys during her career, including two for Best News Anchor in the region. When she counts her blessings, she includes living in a city with world-class healthcare and having a job that offers insurance to pay for her care. Above all else, she's grateful she found the cancer early and treated it quickly

“I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say, ‘Oh, I was fine the whole time,’” Davidson said. “I definitely had some meltdowns. But overall, I felt a sense of gratitude [that] I caught it early, that I listened to my body."

During her last week of radiation, she shared the news of her diagnosis and treatment with her colleagues.

“I weighed, you know, what's personal and what's valuable to people,” Davidson told Know Your Value. “I'm not one who talks a lot about myself because I don't think that's my job. My job as a journalist is to give you information that's out there, [but] I am on this Earth to help someone so I shared my story in hopes that other people will listen to their bodies.”

Now, she spreads her message to women loudly, clearly and often.

"I scream from the rafters to everyone: Don't wait if you are scheduled for a mammogram,” Davidson said. "If you feel something weird in your body, we know our bodies better than anybody. Do something about it, don't wait, and go to the doctor.”