Actress Rita Wilson has revealed she has undergone a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery after recently being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Rita, who is married to Tom Hanks, released a statement encouraging people to "trust their instincts if something doesn't feel right" as the disease was initially missed until she sought a second opinion.
Speaking to People magazine, she 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."
Angelina Jolie has spoken at length about having a double mastectomy in 2013, but as a preventative measure because she carries the so-called 'faulty' BRCA1 gene, giving her a higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer than non-carriers. Just last month, she revealed she had had her ovaries removed after doctors found "inflammatory markers" that could have been a sign of early cancer.
In her statement, Rita, 58, expressed her relief that her own early diagnosis means she is expected to make a full recovery, and explained that she wanted to share her experience to encourage others to seek a second opinion too.
"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. 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," she said.
"I have had an underlying condition of LCIS, (lobular carcinoma in situ) which has been vigilantly monitored through yearly mammograms and breast MRIs. Recently, after two surgical breast biopsies, PLCIS (pleomorphic carcinoma in situ) was discovered. I mention this because there is much unknown about PLCIS and it is often found alongside DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). I was relieved when the pathology showed no cancer.
"However, 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. 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."
Rita, who has taken leave from Broadway play Fish in the Dark while she recovers, added: "I feel blessed to have a loving, supportive husband, family, friends and doctors and that I am the beneficiary of advances in the field of breast cancer and reconstruction. I am getting better every day and look forward to renewed health.
"I hope this will encourage others to get a second opinion and to trust their instincts if something doesn't 'feel' right."
The couple have been married since 1988, and speaking in 2013, Tom gushed about his wife on Ellen, saying, "I'm not one to suck up to the audience, but the only thing we argue about is who loves each other more."