Rita Wilson Reflects on Breast Cancer
- Actress and singer Rita Wilson shares on Instagram this week some thoughts about Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as well as remembers her song Pink with Dolly Parton.
- Wilson is a breast cancer survivor; she was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma breast cancer in 2015. She had a mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery.
- Mammograms are the screening method for breast cancer, and women aged 45 to 54 with an average risk of breast cancer (i.e. no family history of the disease) should have mammograms annually.
To commemorate the month, Rita reflects on her song Pink. She collaborated with artists Dolly Parton, Monica, Jordin Sparks, and Sara Evans for the song, which centers on breast cancer awareness and advances in treatment and survival rates.Read More
Wilson writes on Instagram, “In honor of #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth, here’s a clip of “Pink,” performed with @dollyparton, @jordinsparks, @saraevansmusic, and @monicadenise.”
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She continues, “Posted almost a year ago today, the message is still clear as ever: one day at a time, everyday is a gift, and pink will someday be just another color.”
Rita’s Journey with Breast Cancer
Wilson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She underwent a mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery, to treat her cancer. The actress and singer’s specific diagnosis was invasive lobular carcinoma.
This type of breast cancer is named for its point of origin: the lobules. Invasive lobular carcinoma begins in the milk-producing glands, called lobules, of the breast. For this kind of cancer that’s invasive, cancer cells have “broken out” of the lobule where they began and they may spread to other areas of the body.
Invasive lobular carcinoma only represents a small portion of breast cancers. The most common type of breast cancer starts in the breast ducts.
Treatment options for breast cancer include surgery (via a mastectomy or lumpectomy), chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Some people also get preventative mastectomies if there’s a history of breast cancer in the family and thus an elevated risk of developing the disease.
How to Screen for Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is typically detected via a mammogram, the screening method for this type of cancer. Mammograms look for lumps in the breast tissue and early signs of breast cancer.
Women aged 45 to 54 with an average risk of breast cancer (i.e. no family history of the disease) should have mammograms annually. Dr. Connie Lehman, the chief of the Breast Imaging Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, says in an earlier interview, “If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, I think it’s very important that you have a mammogram every year.”
“We know that cancers grow more rapidly in our younger patients, and having that annual mammogram can be lifesaving,” says Dr. Lehman. “After menopause, it may be perfectly acceptable to reduce that frequency to every two years. But what I’m most concerned about is the women who haven’t been in for a mammogram for two, three, or four years, those women that have never had a mammogram. We all agree regular screening mammography saves lives.”