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Suzanne Somers on being diagnosed with breast cancer

Suzanne Summers on a talk show

The actress — best known for her role as Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company — entrepreneur, and author is sharing her breast cancer diagnosis story and why she chose to forgo chemotherapy, along with advice for other survivors.

In 2001, Somers, then headlining in Las Vegas, went to get her annual mammogram. All of sudden, she says, “the energy changes in the room.” The technician had spotted a suspicious mass. Somers found out later that she had a 2.4-centimeter tumor in her right breast.

“When you hear those three words, ‘You have cancer’ — wow — that’s coming face to face with your mortality,” Somers tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “You never think that you’re not here forever.”

But she also managed to find some humor in it. “I thought, how ironic — I was known on ‘Three’s Company’ as the Queen of the Jiggle,” referring to her breasts. “I believe this happened to me because I was a sex symbol — whatever that is,” meaning that she could use her platform to help others...... 

A few years after her lumpectomy, Somers found a plastic surgeon in Japan, Kotaro Yoshimura, who was doing an experimental procedure, reportedly “regrowing the breasts” of Japanese women using their own stem cells instead of implants. Somers, who had been working with plastic surgeon Joel Aronowitz, MD, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, had Yoshimura fly out to Los Angeles to teach Aronowitz the process.

Aronowitz then removed fat from Somers’s stomach, separated out the stem cells, put them into congealed fat, and injected the substance back into Somers’s breast to fill it out again. “It all came back together again,” she says. “Really, when they showed me, I cried. I’d gotten so used to being without it. Imagine if you lost a body part and then it grew back? I had been without for 11 years and it grew back. And I had full feeling. It’s a miracle.”

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