Breast cancer: New trial drug discussed by panelist
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Rita Wilson has forged a successful acting career over the years, making a name for herself in hits such as Sleepless in Seattle. Married to Tom Hanks, she is also one half of Hollywood’s most talked about power couples. Despite being at the top of her game professionally and personally, Wilson previously faced a struggle with cancer.
When Wilson was 58, she took a break from a play she was doing called Fish In the Dark to deal with a “personal health issue”.
It turned out that the star, now 58, had been diagnosed with breast cancer which required her to go under the knife.
In a statement given to People Magazine at the time, Wilson revealed she had undergone the removal of both her breasts which were replaced through reconstruction 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.”
Invasive lobular carcinoma is breast cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands, known as the lobules, of the breasts.
The “invasive” part of the diagnosis means that the cancer cells have spread from outside the lobules to other areas of her body tissue.
She thanked an early diagnosis for helping her overcome the condition.
Wilson revealed: “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.”
The actress said she had an “underlying condition” called lobular carcinoma in situ, which means she had a growth of abnormal cells in her lobular tissue but that these cells hadn’t spread elsewhere.
For years she had been monitoring her breasts using MRI and mammograms.
But after one particular checkup, she was left feeling uneasy after biopsies revealed her tissue had changed and she had a pleomorphic carcinoma which she was told wasn’t cancerous.
Trusting her instincts, Wilson went for a second opinion which confirmed the presence of the spreading carcinoma.
Wilson said: “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.”
Breast reconstruction surgery
The procedure the star went through after her double mastectomy was an immediate breast reconstruction.
This is when a new breast is made after its removal, and can help give breast cancer patients confidence after the breast removal.
In many cases, the skin from the original breasts is spared during the mastectomy and then used during the surgery.
The patient may then have implants inserted underneath the skin, although there are other methods of reconstruction.
According to Cancer Research UK, people may also undergo “flap” reconstruction, which involves using tissue from another part of the body.
Others may be given implants that replace the entire breast tissue.
You should see your GP if you notice any of the following symptoms, suggests the NHS, as this could be breast cancer:
- A change in shape and size of one or both breasts
- A lump or swelling in your armpits
- Dimpling on the skin of your breasts
- A rash on or around your nipple
- A change in the appearance of your nipple
- Discharge from either nipple.
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