Wanda Sykes’ Breast Reduction and Shocking Cancer Surprise

Funny woman Wanda Sykes has caught many off guard by talking about a very serious topic – Breast cancer.

In an interview with Ellen Degeneres, to be aired Monday, Sykes, 47, revealed that she underwent a bilateral mastectomy in February.

Originally, Sykes underwent surgery to reduce the size of her breasts because they got in her way and caused back pain. However, when pathologists examined her breast tissue, they found that she had cancer!

According to People magazine:

“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.”

She continues, “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.”

Despite the fact that she had “treated herself” by having the breast reduction, Sykes made the dramatic decision to have both breasts removed. She points out that she has a strong family history of breast cancer.  She was also afraid she would be unable to keep up with the frequent monitoring (mammogram and breast MRI every 3 months) she’d have to do to make sure the cancer hadn’t returned.

Being the mother of  2-1/2 year old twins with her wife, Alex, her decision gives her some peace of mind: “I had both breasts removed … [and] now I have zero chance of having breast cancer.”

Breast cancer is a topic we’ve covered before and here’s a list of some important stories:

  1. Would you have made the same decision as Wanda Sykes?
  2. If breast cancer ran strongly in your family, would you choose more frequent and detailed screening or decide to have your breasts removed to prevent the cancer from ever developing in the first place?
Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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