Wanda Sykes, Ellen DeGeneres
Wanda Sykes has undergone a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.
In an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show set to air Monday, the comedian reveals for the first time that she found out she had breast cancer in February when she went in for a breast reduction.
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"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," Sykes says. "I was very, very lucky because DCIS is basically stage-zero cancer. So I was very lucky. But cancer is cancer."
Sykes had the choice of scheduling routine check-ups, but notes that "I'm not good at keeping on top of stuff." She later found out that there's a history of breast cancer on her mother's side of the family, which prompted her to opt for a bilateral mastectomy.
"I had both breasts removed and ... now I have zero chance of having breast cancer," she says. "It sounds scary upfront, but what do you want? Do you want to wait and not be as fortunate when it comes back and it's too late?"
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Still, Sykes, 47, says she had reservations about publicly speaking out about her crusade.
"How many things could I have? I'm black, then lesbian. I can't be the poster child for everything," she jokes. "At least with the LGBT issues we get a parade, we get a float. It's a party. I was real hesitant about doing this because I hate walking. I got a lot of walks coming up."