Rita Wilson’s cancer diagnosis highlights importance of second opinion

Rita Wilson revealed on Tuesday that she underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstructive surgery after being diagnosed with breast cancer. In a statement to People magazine, Wilson said she is expected to make a full recovery because she caught it early, has excellent doctors and got a second opinion. This second opinion is key — Wilson shared that her initial pathology didn’t show that she had cancer. She has long had a condition called lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS), which requires regular monitoring via MRIs and mammograms because it’s known to increase breast cancer risk. Recent breast biopsies revealed that the LCIS cells looked abnormal upon closer examination under a microscope.

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.

Rita Wilson

Wilson’s story is a reminder that if you feel you need more information about imaging or tests, or your instincts tell you there’s something more that your doctor isn’t picking up on, take it to another physician. You want a doctor who deals with the condition or cancer everyday and is looking and digging, not reassuring, Susan Boolbol, MD, chief of breast surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, tells Yahoo Health. Wilson’s disclosure echoes Angelina Jolie’s decision to share news of a double mastectomy two years ago and removal of her ovaries last month after tests revealed a mutation in the BRCA1 gene that increased her risk for breast and ovarian cancers.

A doctor should never be upset about a patient getting a second opinion. If she is, then you should walk away immediately.

Susan Boolbol, MD, chief of breast surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, tells Yahoo Health