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TV Notes: 12/18/02

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Finnegan on the mend

WPXI anchor Peggy Finnegan has been off the air since early December, when she had her ovaries and uterus removed as a preventative measure against future cancer.

Finnegan, 42, is a breast cancer survivor, and because of the cancer that runs in her family -- two sisters are breast cancer survivors; a grandmother and uncle also had breast cancer -- she opted to have the surgery, which found no signs of cancer.

"Quite clearly, it's a genetic predisposition, and when you have that, there's also a higher risk for ovarian cancer, which is a much worse cancer than breast cancer," Finnegan said. "It's very sneaky and can be difficult to detect, so it's a cancer you really want to avoid getting. At this stage in the battle against cancer, the only way to do that is prevent it in the first place by removing the organs that are predisposed."

Finnegan said the decision to have the surgery hung over her for several years. She'd previously scheduled it and canceled it twice.

"It was very difficult, because I really wanted to have more children," said Finnegan, who has four children ranging in age from 3 to 10. "I'm one of seven children and so is my husband. We would love to have more children, but as the years went by, the risk for possibly getting ovarian cancer started to grow and the likelihood of having another baby was getting slimmer."

Finnegan underwent the surgery Dec. 4 at Magee-Womens Hospital. She expects to be back on the air in late January.

"I'm recovering nicely and I'm really relieved everything went well and I finally did it. I made my decision and went through with it. That, in itself, was a relief."

After the surgery, Finnegan decided she wants to eventually file a report on genetic cancer links and what people should know about them.

"While this is a private ordeal, it's also something I want to share with people. For other women out there in the same position, just knowing somebody else who did it can make it so much easier."

WPXI news director Pat Maday said cards sent to Finnegan at the station will be forwarded to her at home. Channel 11's address is 11 Television Hill, Pittsburgh, PA 15214-1400.

'Amazing' finale to air

Although KDKA will broadcast the "Children's Hospital Free Care Fund Telethon" from 7 to 10 tonight, the two-hour season finale of CBS's "The Amazing Race" will air from 9 to 11 p.m., as scheduled, but on a different channel.

It will be broadcast on WNPA, Pittsburgh's UPN affiliate on Channel 19. That, in turn, delays "The Twilight Zone" until 11 p.m. and eliminates that night's 10 p.m. news on WNPA. "60 Minutes II" will air at 10 p.m. on KDKA.

Chenevey leaves WPXI

Another Pittsburgher heads to Washington, D.C., with the departure of Channel 11 reporter Steve Chenevey. His last day at WPXI is Friday.

Chenevey, who came to WPXI from a Youngstown station in November 1999, will soon join Fox's WTTG in Washington as a reporter, the same station where former WTAE anchor/reporter Shawn Yancy works.

Former WPXI reporter Darryl Carver also works in Washington at ABC affiliate WJLA.

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