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Actress Rita Wilson Announces She Has Breast Cancer, Had Double Mastectomy

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Actress Rita Wilson announced Tuesday she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.

Tracey Leong explains the reason behind her going public with the story.

Breast cancer patients have a higher chance of survival when the disease is caught early---which is exactly what Rita Wilson did and now she's hoping to inspire others.

Actress Rita Wilson---known for her performances on the silver screen and as the wife of Tom Hanks---is now stepping off the red carpet to raise awareness for breast cancer, sharing her recent diagnosis and double mastectomy surgery.

"Their high profile drives the point to the public," said Dr. Maen Farha, Medstar Union Memorial Hospital.

Farha applauds Rita Wilson, saying she sets an example for others to follow, similar to actress and activist Angelina Jolie's announcement in 2013.

"I have been very happy to see the discussion about women's health expanded and that means the world to me and after losing my mom to these issues, I'm very grateful for it and moved by the kind support from people," Jolie said.

While Jolie's double mastectomy surgery was a preventative measure, her message is the same as Wilson's: to be proactive.

Wilson was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma, which was originally missed and found when she went for a second opinion.

"It doesn't hurt to learn more and do your own research but you really want to go to the right people and get a second opinion of you have a doubt in your mind," Farha said.

The celebrity explains her story in an interview with People magazine, encouraging people to trust their instincts when it comes to their health---a message resonating with the health community.

"Telling people breast cancer is highly curable when detected early and if you have something, act early. Don't wait," Farha said.

Experts estimate that more than 230,000 women and about 2,300 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer for women.

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