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Answers to your breast cancer questions

By Elizabeth Cohen, Senior Medical Correspondent
updated 4:32 PM EDT, Thu May 16, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Angelina Jolie revealed this week she's had a double mastectomy
  • CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin also revealed she has breast cancer
  • Sambolin has been asked questions by CNN viewers about breast cancer

(CNN) -- When Angelina Jolie revealed she'd had a double mastectomy, she probably had a pretty good idea that her bravery would empower other women to tell their breast cancer stories.

What she didn't know was that one of these women co-anchors a national morning news show.

On May 14, when Zoraida Sambolin walked into work and heard Jolie's news, she realized this was the right time to tell viewers that five weeks before, she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer and had decided to have a double mastectomy.

"Angelina Jolie chose to bear her soul in writing and I chose to follow her lead in front of all our viewers Tuesday," she later wrote in an article on CNN.com. "I am not yet on the other side, but judging by all the e-mails I've received from survivors, I am headed to a place that is stronger, wiser and definitely more empowered."

Elizabeth Cohen
Elizabeth Cohen

Sambolin, co-host of CNN's "Early Start," is grateful for all the love and support she's received from CNN's viewers and readers. Many asked questions about their own health or the health of someone they love. Sambolin asked me to help answer these questions.

I'm worried I might have breast cancer. What are the signs?

Breastcancer.org, the National Breast Cancer Foundation and the Mayo Clinic explain the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

CNN anchor opens up about her cancer
Support pours in for Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie got a test to see if she carried a faulty breast cancer gene. Should I get that test?

Read this Empowered Patient column and this CNN article by Dr. Susan Domchek to help you decide. CNN's iReporters have weighed in with their own decisions about breast cancer genetic testing, and this CNNMoney article discusses whether your insurance will cover genetic testing.

Like Angelina Jolie, I carry a faulty gene for breast cancer. Should I also get a double mastectomy?

Dr. Aaron Carroll writes on CNN.com about the risks and benefits of Jolie's choice. For another woman's perspective, read Allison Gilbert's moving article on CNN.com.

My doctor thinks I might have breast cancer. What tests will she use to find out?

Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Cancer Society explain the tests doctors use to diagnose breast cancer.

I've had a biopsy and read my pathology report, but I don't understand it. Can you help?

Breastcancer.org breaks down the information in a pathology report.

I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. What's my next step?

My Breast Cancer Coach and Susan G. Komen can walk you through this new world you've entered.

I thought breast cancer was breast cancer. Now I'm learning I have a certain type of breast cancer. Help -- I'm confused.

The Mayo Clinic explains the different types of breast cancer.

Sambolin has breast cancer and decided to get a double mastectomy. Actress Christina Applegate made that same choice. I have breast cancer -- should I get a mastectomy?

There are a lot of treatment options for breast cancer, and it's not always easy to decide which is best for you. Komen, the American Cancer Society, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation all have treatment guides.

If I get a mastectomy, how will surgeons give me new breasts?

This CNN.com article explains breast cancer reconstruction options.

Should I get involved in a breast cancer study?

The American Cancer Society has some guidance.

My cancer isn't going away. What should I do?

The American Cancer Society has this advice for what to do if breast cancer doesn't go away or if it returns.

I'd like to connect with other women with breast cancer. Where can I find them?

There are many forums and online communities for women who have breast cancer, such as Previvors and Survivors, the Association of Cancer Online Resources, and Breastcancer.org.

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