Rita Wilson revealed on Tuesday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has undergone double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
“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 actress married to Tom Hanks told People Magazine. “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 has been “vigilantly” monitoring her breast health over the years, she said, due to an underlying condition of LCIS, which stands for lobular carcinoma in situ. After two surgical breast biopsies, doctors discovered PLCIS (pleomorphic carcinoma in situ), but initial pathology showed no signs of cancer.
Taking the advice of a friend who fought breast cancer and trusting her own gut, Wilson looked into her condition again.
“A different pathologist found invasive lobular carcinoma. His diagnosis of cancer was confirmed by, yet, another pathologist,” Wilson said. “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.”
Wilson is the latest in a string of high-profile women to come forward after undergoing a double mastectomy. Angelina Jolie penned an op-ed for the New York Times in May 2013 regarding her decision to undergo the procedure.
“Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average,” Jolie wrote. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy.”
Likewise, “American Horror Story: Coven” actress Kathy Bates said that working on the FX anthology series helped her recover after her double mastectomy.
“Sometime after [speaking to co-star Jessica Lange] I had a double mastectomy and so I was really still reeling and healing from that when I was having my meeting with Ryan [Murphy, show co-creator],” Bates said in an interview at the time. “I wasn’t really sure where to put my foot next in the business. I was so excited after that first meeting, I thought, ‘There is life after all.’