“Some people were saying, ‘The cancer is probably back,’ ” Rancic, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and underwent a double mastectomy that year, tells PEOPLE. “And they were accusing me of every eating disorder. I thought to myself, ‘God, if someone really thought I had an eating disorder, what a horrible way to approach it.’ ”
Thankfully, Rancic, 40, is healthy, though she says the cancer-suppressing medication she has been taking since 2012 has had an effect on her body.
“I started noticing that I was eating a lot, but not gaining weight at all,” Rancic says. “I was concerned.”
Her oncologist, Dr. Dev Paul of Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers in Denver, Colorado, informed her that the drug, which can alter metabolism, could cause weight loss.
“It’s really hurtful,” says Rancic of the attention, adding that she had hoped criticism about her appearance would quiet down on its own. “I’m sorry that some people think I’m disgustingly skinny, as they put it, but there’s nothing I can do. I’m lucky that I even have the type of cancer that reacts to the medicine.”
When it comes to her appetite, “I eat more than any of my friends,” she says. “I eat a very robust, healthy, balanced diet and dessert almost every night. I’m not hiding from anything…
“I look in the mirror and it’s hard for me,” she admits. “I am really thin. I want to look fit and beautiful and sexy, and I can’t.”
“I never want my weight to distract people from what I do,” she says. “But it is becoming a distraction, [whenever] I wear something sleeveless, show my arms, my back.”
In fact, Rancic says a major publication was interested in featuring her but backed out, telling her she was “too skinny.”
“That was really hurtful,” she says. “I thought, ‘Wow, I’m on cancer medication. I’m doing the best that I can.’ ”
Despite the public backlash, that mindset has served Rancic well.
“I refuse to be broken [by what people say],” she says. “I have so many beautiful things in my life.’