Ray Romano‘s Wife Anna Had Breast Cancer

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Everybody Loves Raymond, Ray Romano‘s successful sitcom was said to be based on his experiences at home, but this is one story that never would have made it to the show, and to the media until now.

Anna, his wife of 24 years has been battling stage one breast cancer.  In an interview with PEOPLE magazine, the couple revealed they wanted something positive out of going public with Anna’s health:

“The reason we’re going public is to share our experience, yeah, but to have an effect. Our goal is to help people.”

A lump was discovered in her right breast during an examination with a doctor, followed by a mammogram and a biopsy for Anna, 48. In February 2010, Anna was told she had “invasive breast cancer.”

Anna admits that losing her hair during four rounds chemotherapy was tough:

“I’m already shy and the last thing I wanted to do was walk around bald.”

But more than that, as a mother to four kids: Ally, 21, twins Greg and Matt, 19, and Joe, 14, she found it difficult to put herself first:

“I take on everybody’s stress, but this had to be all about me. I’m not like that!”

Now, she and Ray simply want to help others. He says: “We dodged a bullet. Now we want to give back.”