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CNN anchor Sambolin to have double mastectomy

By Michael Pearson, CNN
May 14, 2013 -- Updated 1551 GMT (2351 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "At the end of the day, I need to have peace of mind," Sambolin says
  • Angelina Jolie's op-ed gives CNN anchor "opening" to discuss her diagnosis
  • Zoraida Sambolin says she "struggled for weeks" over how to address issue
  • She tells viewers she will have surgery May 28

(CNN) -- CNN "Early Start" co-anchor Zoraida Sambolin has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will have a double mastectomy, she told viewers Tuesday while discussing film star Angelina Jolie's decision to have the surgery as a preventative measure.

"I struggled for weeks trying to figure out how tell you that I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was leaving to have surgery," Sambolin said in a posting to her Facebook page Tuesday. "Then, Angelina Jolie shares her story of a double mastectomy and gives me strength and an opening."

Jolie announced in a New York Times op-ed published Tuesday that she had undergone double mastectomy surgery after learning she has an elevated risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

During her "Early Start" appearance, Sambolin said the decision to opt for a mastectomy was a difficult one, but was made easier by reading Jolie's perspective.

Jolie: 'I've decided to be proactive'
Explaining Jolie's cancer gene
TV host: Why I had double mastectomy
Mammograms save lives

"She said I feel empowered, that I'm in a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity," Sambolin said. "You know, it's nice to hear somebody else talk about it and have that support of a lot of women around you."

"At the end of the day, I need to have peace of mind," she added. "I need to sleep at night. I have two kids that are my world, like any woman, and it's what you think about. So I thought for me, this would be the best decision moving forward so I could feel confident that it's not something that I'm going to have to deal with that much more in the future."

Sambolin is scheduled to have the surgery on May 28, she told viewers. She said she is opting for surgery similar to Jolie's.

She said she has a history of fibrocystic breast tissue, which made making a diagnosis difficult, and said early detection through regular mammograms was key for her.

"I didn't mess around. I went when I was supposed to go, and I followed it diligently," she said.

Dozens of people expressed support for Sambolin on her Facebook page.

"You are an amazing and strong woman and I know you will beat this!" Facebook user Jennifer Majerus posted.

"Praying for you Z!," Facebook user Charles Barnes posted to her page. "I know you will overcome this challenge!"

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