4.8
May 15, 2013

“My Medical Choice.” Angelina Jolie, 37, Publicly Explains Why She Recently Underwent A Double Mastectomy.

Update: Angelina Jolie’s op-ed in the New York Times. “Two years ago I wrote about my choice to have a preventive double mastectomy… I wanted other women at risk to know about the options. I promised to follow up with any information that could be useful, including about my next preventive surgery, the removal of my ovaries and fallopian tubes.” Read the full article.

~

Relephant videos re cancer, mastectomy, alternatives:

This is public leadership.

“Kudos, Angelina Jolie. It’s awesome that she made this public.”

1 in 400 people have a BRCA mutation.

NPR has a powerful article on why the BRCA1 gene is so expensive to test for: it’s been allowed to be patented.

“It’s important to make it clear that a BRCA mutation is a special, high-risk situation,” said Dr. Monica Morrow, chief of the breast service at Sloan-Kettering. For women at very high risk, preventive mastectomy makes sense, but few women fall into that category, she said…

…“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.” For more coverage of her announcement and decision and its impact, click here.

Via Reddit:

Preventative measures are often recommended for people with BRCA1 mutations. If a doctor ever recommends that you be tested for a BRCA mutation due to a family history of breast cancer, please do so. (edit: as long as you can cover the costs not covered by your insurance, but that’s a separate issue.) It is not “overscreening”. Many effective preventative measures can be enacted if you know you have the mutation.

Sources:

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/BRCA

http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/20/5/1260.short

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1245/s10434-007-9612-4

Via Angelina Jolie:

MY MOTHER fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.

We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman…read her full story here…Ms. Jolie’s story is #1 on all of the NY Times.

Relephant:

Decoding Angelina Jolie. “We felt compelled to address Angelina Jolie’s recent decision to under go prophylactic double mastectomy.”

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