Wanda Sykes Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis, Double Mastectomy

Comedian opens up on Ellen, calls herself "very lucky" that doctors caught it early

By Natalie Finn Sep 23, 2011 2:48 AMTags

Add Wanda Sykes to the growing ranks of those who've battled cancer.

The comedian revealed in an interview on Ellen, airing Monday, that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and underwent a double mastectomy, saying she didn't want to take any chances of a recurrence.

"It sounds scary upfront, but what do you want?" Sykes said matter-of-factly.

And, the way she tells it anyway, the story of how her cancer was discovered is quite the hoot.

"I was having a breast reduction, actually," Sykes told Ellen DeGeneres.

"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," she continued, "because DCIS is basically stage zero cancer. So I was very lucky. But cancer is cancer. 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.  I have a lot of breast cancer history on my mother's side of the family, which I didn't know about."

Instead, she opted for a bilateral mastectomy.

"Do you want to wait and not be as fortunate when it comes back and it's too late?" Sykes said.

Despite her avid support for breast cancer awareness and fundraising, the Curb Your Enthusiasm player also said that she wasn't sure about opening up about her struggle because she didn't want to become a "poster girl" for the cause.

"How many things could I have? I'm black, then lesbian," she explained jovially. "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. I was real hesitant about doing this because, I hate walking. I got a lot of walks coming up!"

So far, at least, Sykes is a poster girl for a great attitude.