Actress Rita Wilson has revealed that earlier this month she underwent a double mastectomy in an effort to fight a diagnosis of breast cancer.
"Last week, with my husband by my side, and with the love and support of family and friends, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction for breast cancer after a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma," the 58-year-old, who is married to actor Tom Hanks, wrote in a statement to People. "I am recovering and most importantly, expected to make a full recovery. Why? Because I caught this early, have excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion."
Wilson said she's been monitoring with doctors an underlying condition called LCIS (lobular carcinoma in situ) for several years through annual mammograms and breast MRIs. As long as the abnormal cells present in such a condition do not spread, surgery is not recommended. After recent biopsies showed Wilson's LCIS exhibiting more unusual characteristics (called PLCIS or pleomorphic carcinoma in situ), she was screened for cancer. Those initial tests came back negative, but Wilson had a feeling something wasn't right.
"A friend who had had breast cancer suggested I get a second opinion on my pathology and my gut told me that was the thing to do," she shared. "A different pathologist found invasive lobular carcinoma. His diagnosis of cancer was confirmed by, yet, another pathologist. I share this to educate others that a second opinion is critical to your health. You have nothing to lose if both opinions match up for the good, and everything to gain if something that was missed is found, which does happen. Early diagnosis is key."
According to the National Breast Cancer Coalition, second opinions should be sought regarding both pathologies and treatments.
"Every so often, it's difficult for pathologists to give a clear-cut diagnosis," they write. "So you may get conflicting pathology reports. In this case, it's especially important to learn as much as you can about your specific diagnosis."
As for Wilson, she said she feels "blessed" to have the support of her family and doctors and is looking forward to a swift recovery.
She added: "I hope this will encourage others to get a second opinion and to trust their instincts if something doesn't 'feel' right."
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