Changed by Chance…Champion by Choice » Author, Elizabeth Barker

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Angelina’s Choice

Angelina Jolie imageThe Angelina Jolie news story that broke today created quite a stir and lots of debate. Should she or shouldn’t she have had a prophylactic double mastectomy?

We are kidding ourselves if we think that we know much that is substantial or sincere about our media celebrities. I give kudos to Angelina for being so open about her recent personal choice and for her reasoning behind her decision.

This literally life altering decision is a complex one to tackle. There isn’t a pat answer to the dilemma if you test positive for a mutation of BRCA gene that we all carry.

There are many variables to consider if diagnosed with the mutation of this gene, which is a hereditary factor, and indicates a higher incidence of Breast Cancer. What, if any action should a woman take might depend on: age, overall health condition, family medical history, a patient’s mental & emotional reaction to the news about the gene, even insurance and financial considerations, (though this is an unfortunate concern to have to mix in).

From what I have read about Angelina Jolie’s case, I am not 100% sure that I would have opted to have a double mastectomy. Because although the doctors quote that her chances of developing breast cancer were high, at 80+%, due to her having this gene and family history (her mother died of ovarian cancer and had this mutated gene), I know firsthand how statistics can be fallible – (the incorrect advice about aborting Bryan and his odds).

I am not sure if I would have done the surgery at her present age if I were her. It has nothing to do with beauty/appearance concerns. As a young woman who was diagnosed at age 34, had a mastectomy, and has had excellent reconstruction results, I know firsthand the miracle of modern surgery to restore a woman’s breasts. I’d be more concerned that, with the prophylactic mastectomy, while you decrease one risk, you are opening your body to new, lifelong risks as a result of surgery – lymphedemia, infection, possible disfigurement, possible physical limitations, etc. Because of her wealth and intelligence, Angelina Jolie has resources that most of us don’t.

If I were her, I might have possibly opted to keep a close and diligent watch on my health and invested time and monies into preventative care, (though she is in great physical shape and a vegetarian already I think.) I might have instead opted for a homeopathic, nutritional, and yoga or mental conditioning regime that would instead help to ward off activating these cancer cells if they were dormant in her body.

It’s hard to say really what I would have done…and I don’t wish to be put into that hot seat any time soon.

But I commend Angelina for her openness and for using her fame to help other women who may be faced with this awful diagnosis and decision. Her courageous decision will no doubt possibly save lives or help other women to become more informed about their health.

I thought that this link provided the best and most concise information about this story. Click here to see and hear video – http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50146772n
Then, as the Saturday Night comedy character says “Discuss amongst yourselves…”

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