My Medical Choice by Angelina Jolie
Last night, actress Angelina Jolie went public in the New York Times with her decision to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy. She revealed she carries a BRCA1 mutation, and that her mother passed away from cancer at the age of 56.
In her piece, Angelina writes about her children wanting to know if she would succumb to the same fate as her mother. She talks about the cancer risk associated with her BRCA mutation and the various steps of the surgery. These sentiments are all familiar to any woman who carries a hereditary breast and ovarian cancer risk, but what resonated with me the most in her writing was this:
“But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.”
Thank you, Angelina, for sharing your story. Every time a woman is brave enough to open up about her experience with hereditary cancer–from Angelina Jolie to Giuliana Rancic to Christina Applegate to my dear friend Trisha to ME!–there is limitless potential for making a difference. How many women will opt for BRCA testing because of Angelina Jolie? How many high-risk women will be more inclined to consider preventative surgery? Even if just one woman takes action, Angelina Jolie’s revelation will be worth it.
You go, girl. Thank you for joining the ranks of selfess women who have opened up about their mastectomies.
Good on her, and for any women who shares such a personal story – yourself included! As for that hash tag, I so do hope it never becomes cool to have a mastectomy. Life-saving, yes . . . understood and not mistaken with ‘boob jobs’, yes . . . cool . . . well, I’d rather put on some skinny jeans and go to a concert. 😉 ~Catherine
Hahah, an excellent point about the skinny jeans, Catherine!
Hi – I just read about on the dailymail this morning. Very proud moment when I could say – I know her! Your story will help so many young women avoid the fate I am living right now. God I would give anything to have had that chance to decide my future. Who knew mastectomies would become cool? :)) Hugs from Norway, OBB
Thanks for the comment, Kate! The OBB is still my favorite name. And I hope you’re right about sharing…the more people who blog/write/speak about this, the better.
My mother had ovarian cancer in 2000. I had a hysterectomy in 2001 to hopefully keep from having ovarian cancer as well.
Back then there weren’t sufficient tests as it appears there are now.
Glad advancements are getting better every year.
Was it worth it to have a hysterectomy? Yes, most definetly!
well if both your parents died from cancer in their 50,s than how do you get a test and were
Two months ago I found out I have the BRACA 2 gene. Since I found out I have been trying to explain to friends and family about the gene and preventative measures I may have to go through. Angelina making her status and decision public hopefully will open everyone’s eye to this testing and preventative screenings.
Rachel my PS group in Texas just posted a link to your interview on FB. It was so cool to watch it. I remember us going through our mastecomies and reconstruction together on BCO. I have enjoyed following your blog. You have amazed me from the time I met you on BCO. Glad things are going well for you.
Thanks for letting me know, Sherry! I hope you’re doing well. I was so fortunate to have all of the ladies on BCO to speak to during surgery time.