“I had breast cancer. Yeah, I know it’s scary.”
Sykes admitted that while lab work was being performed after her breast reduction in February 2011 (“I had real big boobs and I just got tired of knocking over stuff,” Sykes joked), doctors discovered she had DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), a stage zero cancer, in her left breast.
Because she has a long history of cancer on her mother’s side of the family, Sykes opted to have a bilateral, or double, mastectomy.
“I was very, very lucky,” Sykes said. “I had the choice of, you can go back every three months and get it checked. Have a mammogram, MRI every three months just to see what it’s doing. But I’m not good at keeping on top of stuff. I’m sure I’m overdue for an oil change and a teeth cleaning already. I have a lot of breast cancer history on my mother’s side of the family, which I didn’t know about. Do you want to wait and not be as fortunate when it comes back and it’s too late?”
Sykes, who’s currently on a stand-up comedy tour and will perform at the New York Comedy Festival in November, joked to DeGeneres that she kept her cancer diagnosis hush hush — the “Ellen” show appearance is the first time she’s discussed it publicly — because she didn’t want to become the cancer “poster child.”
“How many things could I have? I’m black, then lesbian,” she joked. “I can’t be the poster child for everything! At least with the LGBT issues we get a parade, we get a float, it’s a party. I was real hesitant about doing this because, I hate walking. I got a lot of walks coming up!”