Have you heard the news about Angelina Jolie having a double mastectomy to prevent the very real possibility of getting breast cancer? God Bless her and good luck to her I say! I understand her stand on doing such a drastic thing, for the thought of facing the real possibility of contracting breast cancer in the future after finding out she carries the BRCA1 gene must have seemed daunting for as I understand it you must be constantly vigilant and tested constantly. To take her destiny into own hands may not be understood by everyone but it is her choice and I commend her, I’m sure it was a very hard decision, but to do anything to help lessen the chance of getting cancer probably makes sense to her, wouldn’t you want to lessen the chance if you could? My one problem is that she supposedly was keeping this “quiet”, though when you are such a big star can you really keep anything “quiet” and then give interviews? If you are Jane Doe does would anyone care that you did this? The media is making a big deal of this because she is Angelina Jolie……one upside is that if she brings attention to breast cancer that is positive and if she makes it seem more mainstream and acceptable to take this drastic measure and it helps anyone else out there then that is a great thing.
I myself have had the dreaded disease so I get it, but was very lucky by only having to have a lumpectomy and got to keep my breasts. I had the disease 5 years ago when my insurance was fabulous, before Obamacare. If there is an upside of contracting breast cancer than that was my case and I didn’t have to make the decision to have a mastectomy or reconstructive surgery, my doctor felt the lumpectomy was sufficient. I feel I learned a lot from it, I learned to appreciate life so much more. The chemo and radiation were terrible and so was the testing all through it and after it for 5 years. I am lucky enough not to carry the BRCA1 gene though and I did have to pay for the test myself, which was about $3,000 but I did it for me, my sister and my nieces so we would see if the gene is in our family. My maternal grandmother died of breast cancer in her 60’s and my maternal aunt got breast cancer in her 80’s so the doctors were concerned. I am cancer free now and have totally recovered, being lucky enough to only have had the “lump”, not the gene.
In Angelina’s case, she carries the BRCA1 gene and had a better (worse) chance of contracting both breast cancer or ovarian cancer like her mother who died at 56 years of age after fighting ovarian cancer for a decade. Jolie’s chances of contracting breast cancer was 87% higher and ovarian cancer was 50% higher said doctors from carrying the BRCA1 gene so this was her motivation for the double mastectomy to live for her children and Brad Pitt. It is a very personal choice and it is not for everyone. Now after the double mastectomy her chances of breast cancer is down to 5% which is fabulous.
Angelina was lucky enough to be able to afford the $3,000 blood test easily and the reconstructive surgery, so it is not like she will be scarred and breastless like a lot of other women who may not be able to afford reconstructive surgery. The surgery has also come a long way, women in the past had their nipples removed and tattooed on, the nipples are now saved and reattached after the filler holds the shape of the breasts as the woman heals and then the implants are inserted as Angelina had done.
I still applaud her as I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision. I hope she does well and heals quickly and never has to deal with cancer, no one should ever have to.
What do you think?
(C) Evelyn Garone 5.14.13