Angelina Jolie and preventative mastectomy, a radical approach but is it rational?
Angelina Jolie, arguably one of the most photographed and beautiful women in the world recently had the Brac gene test and was found to have Brac 1, which statistically increases her chances of having breast cancer. Her mother died in her 50’s from the disease process which was one of the reasons that she opted for the procedure.
Doctors state about 30% of the women who are diagnosed opt to remove their healthy breasts due to fear driven by statistics. The question in most women’s minds has to do with them becoming a statistic and contracting the disease. While breast cancer and its causes or triggers is poorly understood, often watching and if found, lumpectomy is an effective way of dealing with the problem rather than removing the breasts and then opting for reconstruction.
No women wants to find out they have breast cancer and then go through the process of having it treated, but is prophylactic removal of the breasts really necessary. In the grand scheme of things, sometimes knowledge is dangerous because we will often opt to do crazy things if we believe it will aide in our survival. The bad news is that none of us will live forever and removal of the breasts is treating a what if disease at best, regardless of statistical odds which may or may not be correct.
Ms. Jolie had her own personal reasons for doing this procedure, however, unfortunately, as a star, people may follow her path which many doctors think is overkill or just unnecessary. If the availability of these genetic tests and the way we process their results fear mongering? Check out the NY Times article on the subject below:
Jolie’s Disclosure of Preventive Mastectomy Highlights Dilemma
By DENISE GRADY, TARA PARKER-POPE and PAM BELLUCK
One of the defining moments in the history of breast cancer occurred in 1974 when the first lady, Betty Ford, spoke openly about her mastectomy, lifting a veil of secrecy from the disease and ushering in a new era of breast cancer awareness.
Now four decades later, another leading lady — the actress Angelina Jolie — has focused public attention on breast cancer again, but this time with an even bolder message: A woman at genetic risk should feel empowered to remove both breasts as a way to prevent the disease. Ms. Jolie revealed on Tuesday that because she carries a cancer-causing mutation, she has had a double mastectomy.
“She’s the biggest name of all, and I think given her prominence and her visibility not only as a famous person but also a beautiful actress, it’s going to carry a lot of weight for women,” said Barron H. Lerner, a medical historian and the author of “The Breast Cancer Wars.”
Breast cancer experts and advocates applauded the manner in which Ms. Jolie explored her options and made informed decisions, saying it might influence some women with strong family histories of breast cancer to get genetic tests.
What do you think? As always, I value your opinion.