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Wanda Sykes receives the Hope of Los Angeles Award in Los Angeles for her work with the LGBT community in July 2011. - Provided courtesy of OTRC

Wanda Sykes had breast cancer, underwent double mastectomy

Get more: Celeb Lives
09/23/2011 by Corinne Heller

Comedienne and actress Wanda Sykes says she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and underwent a double mastectomy.

The 47-year-old made her comments on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in an interview set to air on Monday, September 26. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is marked in the United States in October.

Sykes said she had undergone cosmetic surgery in February to have a breast reduction after suffering from backaches. Lab work carried out after the procedure revealed that her left breast contained ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), or cancer cells that have invaded the lining of the milk ducts.

"I was very, very lucky because DCIS is basically stage zero cancer," People magazine quoted Sykes as saying on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." "But cancer is cancer," she added. "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."

Popular treatments for the earliest forms of breast cancer include radiation therapy, a lumpectomy, or removal of a small area containing the cancer cells, and a mastectomy, which removes all or part of the breast and possible nearby areas.

"I had both breasts removed," Sykes said. "Now I have zero chance of having breast cancer."

She added that said she has a history of breast cancer on her mother's side, which is one of the risk factors of developing the disease as well as several other forms of cancer.

Breast cancer affects one in eight women, studies show, and is the fifth leading cause of death for females. Less than 1 percent of men are typically diagnosed with breast cancer. The 10-year survival rate for DCIS patients is about 95 percent.

Sykes has continued to maintain her sense of humor following her ordeal.

"Why do I feel like everybody is staring at my boobs?" Sykes Tweeted on Friday, September 23. "Thank you all for the sweet tweets. I am truly blessed. Big hug @TheEllenShow."

Sykes is known for her comedy act and currently on tour. She is also known for her roles on shows such as "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and "Wanda at Large." She voices Bessy the cow in the Nickelodeon animated series "Back at the Barnyard."

The actress also appears in the new film "The Muppets," which stars Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Mila Kunis, Zach Galifianakis, Neil Patrick Harris, Selena Gomez, Rashida Jones, Rashida Jones, Whoopi Goldberg, Katy Perry, Ricky Gervais, Billy Crystal, Emily Blunt and Jack Black and is set for release on November 23.

Sykes, who is a lesbian, is also touted for her work with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. She was honored with the Hope of Los Angeles Award in June as part of the city's first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Heritage Month celebration. Check out a video of her receiving the honor from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa below.

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