As Breast Cancer Awareness Month approaches, some public figures are speaking out in an effort to help bring attention to the disease. For comedienne Wanda Sykes, it's also a time to reflect back on her own bout with breast cancer, which resulted in her having a double mastectomy.
The Emmy Award-winner revealed the news during an interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show scheduled to air on Monday. Sykes told DeGeneres that the discovery came after a recent breast reduction surgery. "I had breast cancer. Yeah, I know it's scary,” she said. "This was in February. I went for the reduction. I had real big boobs and I just got tired of knocking over stuff. Every time I eat ... Oh lord. I'd carry a Tide stick everywhere I go. My back was sore so it was time to have a reduction."
"It wasn't until after the reduction that in the lab work, the pathology, that they found that I had DCIS [ductal carcinoma in situ] in my left breast. I was very, very lucky because DCIS is basically stage-zero cancer. So I was very lucky."
After getting the news, Sykes' decided to have an bilateral mastectomy, due to her hectic schedule:
I had the choice of, you can go back every three months and get it checked. Have a mammogram, MRI every three months just to see what it's doing. But I'm not good at keeping on top of stuff. I'm sure I’m overdue for an oil change and a teeth cleaning already ... To have a bilateral mastectomy, I had both breasts removed ... because now I have zero chance of having breast cancer.
It sounds scary up front, but what do you want? Do you want to wait and not be as fortunate when it comes back and it's too late?
Sykes said discussing her health issues in public was something she weighed carefully. But she made light of the situation to DeGeneres. "I was like, 'I don't know, should I talk about it or what?' How many things could I have? I'm black, then lesbian. I can't be the poster child for everything ... At least with the LGBT issues we get a parade, we get a float, it's a party. [But] I was real hesitant about doing this, because I hate walking. I got a lot of [cancer] walks coming up."
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