Wanda Sykes Tells of Double Mastectomy After Breast Cancer Diagnosis This Year

Comedienne Wanda Sykes had a bit of a scare earlier this year when a planned breast reduction revealed early stage breast cancer.

Sykes says she opted for the reduction because the size of her original breasts (“real big”) was affecting her life significantly. The star, speaking to Ellen DeGeneres, joked:

“…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.”

While a breast reduction can significantly up quality of life for patients, Sykes’ op could have actually saved hers. The actress’ pathology reports came back with a diagnosis of what she referred to as “stage zero” cancer in her left breast. The specific diagnosis is ductal cancer in situ or DCIS. While the cancer is non-invasive at that point and hasn’t spread, it raises the risk of developing invasive cancers in coming years.

Sykes says she then had both breasts removed at that point so she has “zero chance” of breast cancer.” Sykes joked with DeGeneres about her reluctance to speak out about the procedure, gamely commenting:

“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.”

Off-camera, the comedienne revealed that she underwent the double mastectomy in August, and returned to the road to perform standup just a month later. The cancer was originally detected during the first surgery in February.