Wanda Sykes: I Had a Double Mastectomy

Celebrity News Sep. 23, 2011 AT 8:59AM
Wanda Sykes: I Had a Double Mastectomy Credit: Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images

Wanda Sykes is normally full of laughter. But on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (airing Monday), the 47-year-old made a startling announcement: "I had breast cancer. Yeah, I know it's scary."

The comedienne went in for a breast reduction in February when she first got the news. "I had real big boobs and I just got tired of knocking over stuff. Every time I eat -- oh lord," she said. "I'd carry a Tide stick everywhere I go. My back was sore so it was time to have a reduction."

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"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," she continued. "I was very, very lucky because DCIS is basically stage-zero cancer. So I was very lucky."

Though she was frightened, Sykes realized that "cancer is cancer."

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"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," she explained. "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."

Because she has a long history of cancer on her mother's side of the family, Sykes opted to have a bilateral mastectomy.

"I had both breasts removed, because now I have zero chance of having breast cancer."

Sykes admitted that she wasn't sure if she should open up about her experience. "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."

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"At least with the LGBT issues we get a parade, we get a float, it's a party," the mother of 2-year-old twins with wife Alex added. "I was real hesitant about doing this, because I hate walking. I got a lot of [cancer] walks coming up."

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