Wanda Sykes is a funny lady, but she recently revealed something less than funny: a breast reduction procedure, which led to the discovery of breast cancer.
47-year old Emmy Award-winner Wanda Sykes revealed her decision to undergo a double mastectomy, after breast cancer was discovered during her breast reduction procedure on an episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Wanda says, “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 the cancer was discovered, Wanda made the difficult decision to have a bilateral mastectomy.
“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?”
Many women in Wanda’s place may use breast prosthesis to look better under clothes and mastectomy swimwear during swim season. A prosthetic breast can help women feel more confident in their clothing after the traumatic surgery.
On his blog, plastic surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn writes, “As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I applaud Wanda for speaking out on this very personal topic. Although I rarely perform breast cancer reconstruction anymore, I often perform breast reduction surgery. I always make it a point to send all the tissue removed via a breast reduction to the pathologist in case there is an unrecognized cancer there. I’m glad that Wanda’s diagnosis was DCIS, since tumors of this stage haven’t spread yet.”
Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Salzhauer says, “Some people think that there may be a link between large breasts and breast cancer; however, that is an unproven fact. What is a proven fact, is that Mammograms detect breast cancer and save lives! I am so happy that Wanda Sykes was able to catch the breast cancer in time and it is all because she had a mammogram. It is mandatory for me that any woman over the age of 30 years old has a Mammogram within the last year before any breast procedure I perform. I hope all women learn from Wanda’s experience and follow the breast cancer screening guidelines as recommended for their age.”
“Currently it is once at age 35, then every year after the age of 40, but ask your doctor as every patient is different.”
Despite the seriousness of her situation, Wanda joked about her health and other issues with Ellen, saying, “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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Tags: breast reduction, cosmetic surgery, plastic surgery, Wanda Sykes