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CNN anchor cancer leading to double mastectomy for Zoraida Sambolin

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Journalist Zoraida Sambolin arrives at the Gracie Awards Gala in Los Angeles, Calif.

Journalist Zoraida Sambolin arrives at the Gracie Awards Gala in Los Angeles, Calif. ((Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision))

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CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin, formerly of Chicago's NBC affiliate, announced that she has breast cancer and will undergo a double mastectomy.

She made the revelation Tuesday during a story about the recent double mastectomy of actress Angelina Jolie. Sambolin credits Jolie as her motivation to go public.

"You know what? I said that I really struggled. You know, for a while I've been struggling because I was diagnosed with breast cancer about three weeks ago, and I was trying to figure out how do I share this story - how to tell the viewers that I'm going to be gone for a while because I have chosen to have a double mastectomy? And so Angelina Jolie's story really hit home. I do not have the BRCA gene, I don't know if I have the BRCA gene, I should say. I have chosen to have genetic testing, not because it runs in my family, but because at the end of the day I have a lot of girls in my family, and I figure it starts somewhere. And Elizabeth Cohen is absolutely right, it's a genetic counselor that you sit with and goes over this entire history with you so that you can make this major decision as to whether or not you even want to do this," Sambolin said.

Sambolin says wanting to be there for her family helped make her decision. She is scheduled to have the surgery May 28.

Angelina Jolie revealed she had a preventive double mastectomy in an op-ed piece for the New York Times. The actress says she had the surgery in February after learning she carries a gene that increases her chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Before joining CNN, Sambolin spent her career in Chicago. After joining NBC5 Chicago in 2002, she became the morning show co-anchor there and a special assignment reporter and fill-in news anchor for Telemundo Chicago, her CNN bio says. She was the first Chicago on-air broadcaster to work at both English and Spanish language stations simultaneously.

Prior to her NBC5 work, Sambolin worked for Chicago TV stations WYCC and WSNS, and for the City Colleges of Chicago. Currently, Sambolin is the co-anchor of CNN's morning show Early Start with John Berman.

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