Breast cancer is no stranger to the public, and it affects many women (and some men) of various ages and demographic groups. We hear about the stories of average women and their fights against the malignant disease, but it's rare that we hear about celebrities taking great leaps as Angelina Jolie has done in the fight against breast caner in her personal life.
Angelina was trending on almost every social media and news site yesterday when the word got out about the double mastectomy she underwent as a preventive measure against breast cancer. Her decision to remove both of her breasts was inspired by the untimely death of her mother at the hands of breast cancer. Because her mother was affected by the disease, Angelina was at high risk for contracting the cancer and decided to undergo a gene test that would determine just how high her risk was. When the test results came back and revealed that she was 87% positive for contracting breast cancer in the future, she took the preventive measures of removing not only one, but both of her breasts in order to reduce her chances of getting the disease, and she now is at a less than 5% risk.
When the word got out, many people saw this act as brave and courageous, but many are still in shock about her decision and are left with the question of if removing her breasts was the smartest move.
My answer to that question is ABSOLUTELY!
Breast cancer can sometimes be a tricky disease that moves as treatments begin. One breast may be infected and the other one may be fine, but there are cases where the disease comes back to rear its ugly head years down the line in the other breast, causing one to have to go through those stressful and expensive treatments again.
Angelina made a bold statement by undergoing the double mastectomy and cut out the issue (no pun intended) before it could manifest in her body. If this isn't a fight against breast cancer then I don't know what is! Some people who are fans of the beauty may feel "cheated" because a part of her body that is considered to be an object of beauty is now gone, but when it comes to her personal health and the preservation of her life for many years to come, the opinions of the public are irrelevant.
The gene test that Jolie took is quite expensive and isn't always covered by insurance, but women who have a mother, aunt or grandmother affected by the disease should do self examinations regularly and when she reaches the age, receive mammograms regularly to check for masses in the breasts. Early detection heightens the survival rate.
Hopefully Angelina's undaunted decision will encourage other "high risk" women to take charge of their breast health and take a stand against breast cancer like never before.
[WHAT IS A MASTECTOMY/ A mastectomy is a treatment procedure used for breast cancer patients that removes the entire breast to remove the cancer from the body. ( Many breast cancer patients choose this route over chemotherapy because the high survival rate associated with the procedure and because of the absence of side affects that are associated with the chemo.)]