Angelina Jolie announced that she took a radical step to prevent breast cancer by having a double mastectomy in February 2013. She carries a “faulty” gene BRCA1 which sharply increases her chance of breast cancer by 87% and ovarian cancer by 50%. Her own mother died of cancer at age 56. Her article is below.
In the world of cancer, there is so little that you do have control over. When you are diagnosed, you are told what drugs you have to take, surgeries needed to be done, and what in your life needs to be changed. For a child it can mean complete separation from all that is normal and comforting.
When it comes to breast cancer, many women have the choice to remove one or more breasts when diagnosed. What stops them from doing this? Society’s views of women can play a major role on how breasts are perceived. Are we more or less feminine because we have small or large breasts, one breast or none? I know women very close to me (she knows who she is) who decided to get one breast removed because of a cancer diagnosis. Upon careful research she made the decision to have her second breast removed so that she wouldn’t have to deal with the harmful side effects of taking Tamoxifen, which can increase the chance of ovarian cancer. She took preventative measures to ensure her cancer didn’t return. She is beautiful, strong, and well loved.
But still she worried. What were her chances of getting ovarian cancer? For piece of mind she took the same test as Angelina Jolie which turned out negative. But further measures can still be taken. Eating organic and local foods, regular exercise, keeping stress to a minimum, lots of laughter, and positive connections to family and friends. We can live our lives worrying that we are going to get cancer because multiple people in our family have had it, but the stress of that fear can cause the cancer!
Your preventative methods are entirely up to you. Angelina Jolie proves to us that we can be empowered to make our own decisions and that a woman’s femininity and strength are reflected in her soul, not her body.
What measures have you taken or would you take to prevent cancer?