Angelina Jolie Makes Courageous Choice
If I had something on me that I could cut off that was going to cause me to get cancer, I’d do it too.
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You know what the big news is today? No matter where you go — the USA Today website lead story, CNN, no matter where you go — the lead story today is Angelina Jolie. She wrote an op-ed in the New York Times informing everybody that she “quietly underwent a preventive double mastectomy after discovering that she carried a gene which tends toward breast cancer.” She wrote that the gene is “BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
“My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87% to under 5%. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer. … I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity. I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition.”
I think her mother died of breast cancer at an early age. She had the gene. What did I see? I was watching news this morning, and I may get this wrong. I’m trying to remember this. But I think I saw somebody say that the percentage of breast cancer cases that can be traced to this gene are under 5%; that most cases of breast cancer do not have the gene. But that if you do have the gene, the likelihood is 85% — an 85% chance — that you’ll get breast cancer if you have the gene.
So she underwent a double mastectomy as a preventative measure. You know, that’s gotta take some guts. You know just how important physical appearance is to men and women and their physical characteristics and what it says to people about their self-esteem and their identity. To do something like this is brave. Whatever you think of it, it obviously requires a lot of courage to do that — and then to write about it? That’s another thing.