Angelina Jolie had a preventive double mastectomy...read her brave essay

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by dardar1126, May 14, 2013.

  1. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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  2. Buzz

    Buzz Well-Known Member

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    YIKES!!!!! She has young children so I am sure the thought of them growing up without her had something to do with her decision. Good on her and hope it works. I wish her all the best.
  3. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    Strange, I read almost an identical article on the Huffington Post a few weeks ago by someone other than Angelina Jolie - not about Jolie, it was about the author.

    here it is:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-clark/29-no-cancer-removed-my-breasts-anyway_b_3123993.html
    Looking for that article I was surprised by how many famous women have had this done recently - Sharon Osbourne, Kathy Bates, a recent Miss America contestant - seems like with improvements in genetic testing people can take preventative steps in improving their odds against getting cancer.
  4. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    That seems to have been her primary consideration. Her mother died of breast cancer at the age of 56. That loss was very, very hard on Angelina. In her essay, she talks a lot about her children, and about how supportive Brad Pitt has been.

    EDIT: Christina Applegate is another woman who chose a double mastectomy.
  5. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I thought Christina Applegate had cancer?
  6. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    She did, in one breast and it was early stage, but had a double mastectomy rather than a less radical approach to treatment.

    She has the same breast cancer gene that Angelina has, and her mother is a breast cancer survivor.
  7. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    IIRC, it's recommended if you are positive for BRCA and have a strong family history.
  8. MINAM

    MINAM The "NICE" Admin Staff Member

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    This must have been a difficult decision to make. I wish her the best.
    I'm also surprised that the media didn't find out. Good for her!
  9. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    It is brave and bad ass (in a good way) of Angelina to be proactive and public about this. And I was literally just thinking yesterday that if I could pick a celebrity to champion a personal cause it would be one of the Brangelinas. I have a caveat, however, here which I realize makes me a heel but she had reconstructive surgery from the best surgeons in the world. So that cuts down the wow factor for me.
  10. Jimena

    Jimena Well-Known Member

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    My sister also chose a double mastectomy in January. She developed duct carcinoma in situ at 46. Thankfully, they caught it really, really early. She preferred the double mastectomy to a lumpectomy followed by radiation and chemo. I think more women are choosing this now.
  11. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    That is really radical treatment for DCIS. Of course, I totally respect your sister's wishes, so please don't misunderstand me. Did she have more than one DCIS and were they in both breasts? I had DCIS 5 years ago and had lumpectomy and radiation, which was not bad at all. If I had the breast cancer gene, I might opt for this procedure too. I do have my 5 year mammogram in about 2 hours, so wish me luck! If they find anything, I'm think a double mastectomy is not a bad way to go. No more worries.
  12. Jimena

    Jimena Well-Known Member

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    She had more than one in her right breast. She also lost her mother-in-law a few months ago to cancer and watched her struggle through several rounds of chemo and radiation and she didn't want to do that. Had more time passed since her mother-in-law's death, she might have chosen differently, IMO.

    Good luck on your mammogram!
  13. genegri

    genegri Active Member

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    I wish her the best and hope the procedure is successful. She may have to go through oophorectomy too, which I believe is more life changing than double mastectomy.
  14. topaz

    topaz New Member

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    Actually, Jolie's mom died of ovarian cancer.
  15. topaz

    topaz New Member

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    I think the fact the Jolie-Pitts do not have publicists helps them at times.
  16. MarieM

    MarieM Well-Known Member

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    Are you kidding me ?? :lol:
    The Jolie-Pitts are one of the most successfull brand managed not by one but by at least 5 known publicists :lol:
  17. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I have always really admired Angelina Jolie for her humanitarian work and the fact that she doesn't ever seem particularly fazed by all of the ridiculous publicity surrounding her (and for many of her fantastic film roles). Even with that considered, I was blown away by her decision to write this. She really is a remarkable person.
  18. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Even though I like Jolie's humanitarian work, I find her double mastectomy an overkill, and a not so good judgment.

    I have heard of a few women doing this as a preventative measure, and I did not agree with them either (I don't personally know any of them). It is still better to just be very vigilant about the lump, and get the tests done annually. Also the double mastectomy does not guarantee that she will not get another kind of cancer in the future.
  19. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

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    Luckily, neither Jolie nor these other women need to listen to you or your advice. Their bodies, their lives, their choices.
    antmanb, Lilia A, Habs and 3 others like this.
  20. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    And Angelina's choice reduced her chances of getting breast cancer from ~87% likely down to ~5%...a pretty good decision imo.
  21. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    ITA
  22. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    I never said everyone/anyone needs to listen to my "advice". I never gave an advice, it's my opinion,just like everyone else has an opinion. Of course I know it's her choice; no need to tell me that. Just because it reduced her chances of getting breast cancer, does it mean she cannot get another form of cancer? There is no scientific study that proves that. That's where I am coming from, but you won't see that logic.
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  23. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Not very logical, that's the problem. She was at incredible risk due to the mutated gene and family history of ovarian cancer. No one has any guarantee but she has reduced the likelihood she'll get breast cancer dramatically. I believe she's also contemplating an oophorectomy which is another proactive step. The surgery is not for everyone but for someone with her risk indicators it seems warranted.
  24. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    Your 'logic' seems to be saying that since this surgery, which dramatically reduced her risk of two specific and deadly types of cancer from over 80% and over 50% to less than 5%, won't also magically reduce her risk of getting every single other cancer on the planet, which she is not specifically at risk for, she therefore should not have gotten the surgery.

    That makes no sense at all.
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  25. Alixana

    Alixana recovering Oly-holic

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    Having gone through a cancer scare recently, my new motto is to work on preventing disease as much as I can and then I have to let go .. live my life and deal with whatever else comes along and hope it's treatable.
    Lilia A and (deleted member) like this.
  26. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

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    Actually, it's been reported repeatedly that Angelina herself does not have a publicist for things regarding her personal life. Any quotes or comments come directly from her, not a third party person speaking on her behalf.

    On the other hand, her Goodwill Ambassador role, Brad, and their organizations are a different story.
  27. jeffisjeff

    jeffisjeff Well-Known Member

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    I can't see what isn't there...
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  28. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    She's still a young woman and may want to have more biological children, so she may delay this decision. Of course, she could have her eggs frozen, and then use in-vitro and a surrogate for later biological children.

    And she and Brad have mentioned possibly adopting another/more children.
  29. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    Which makes it her decision.
  30. pat c

    pat c Well-Known Member

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    Good for Jolie. Her choice and her body.
  31. dardar1126

    dardar1126 Well-Known Member

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    Which is why I agreed with you. :)

    EDIT: via Twitter...

    Last edited: May 14, 2013
  32. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Cancer is such an emotional, scary, unsettling thing. Since my own brush with it, I have met so many other people who have experienced terrible trials and tribulations with it...and they're still alive! It is wonderful what can be done these days.

    However, I did want to throw my opinion in the ring based on just what happened to me. I had a DCIS and had a lumpectomy for it. Prior to this lumpectomy, I had had an MRI and ultrasound as well as further diagnostic mammograms so the surgeon could get a good look at what was going on. However, the first lumpectomy found not only the DCIS but a stage 1, 1cm invasive tumor "hiding" behind the DCIS. My point is that all those tests and being vigilant and careful did not show the invasive tumor. It was a surprise to everyone, especially me! I feel very lucky, blessed, etc etc of course, but all the vigilance in the world wouldn't have saved me if that had not been found in a timely manner-by accident.
    Dr.Siouxs and (deleted member) like this.
  33. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    I don't blame them. Chemo is a bitch. I had a teacher whose beloved wife died from the side effects of chemo. Not from the cancer itself.

    Of course not, but if you had a nearly 90% chance of developing one particular kind of cancer, I would do everything in my power to prevent that. Shit can still happen and she can get another form of cancer, but at least she knows she would have done all she could to prevent the BRCA1-related breast cancer.

    Also, radiation and chemo can be more dangerous than surgery. Both are actually capable of CAUSING secondary tumors. I work in a lab that studies DNA repair, and we use both ionizing radiation and chemo drugs to f*ck up our cells.
  34. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry about your cancer scare. I hope you overcome it.

    Is surgery the only way to prevent a disease? I would look into non-surgical preventative measures first. To me, surgery has always been the last resort. Removing a healthy part of a body does not make a lot of sense to me. If it's a diseased part, certainly I would seriously consider surgery, depending on the advice from medical professionals.
  35. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    So you find it overkill - are you familiar with her medical history? The results of her genetic tests? Are any of us really in a position to fully understand what she went through or know what medical information she was given?

    When the risk is as high as Jolie was told, sometimes you have to consider preventive measures of this sort; it's the same recommendation many women with the BRCA gene are given. Jolie is not considered high risk for other forms of cancer (except ovarian, and she's likely be taking steps to deal with that as well), so her concern is rightly with doing what she can to reduce the extremely high risk of breast cancer that this genetic mutation put her at. I am sure she will be screened for other forms of cancer as per her physicians' recommendation in the future. But her risk of breast cancer was high enough to warrant the consideration of more drastic measures, and AFAIK there is no fully reliable method for early detection of ovarian cancer. She made the choice she felt was best for herself and her family.

    I applaud her decision to do this and to share it, and her experience, with other people. This is an important message.

    Obligatory message: while awareness regarding breast cancer is relatively high and Jolie's essay will undoubtedly help as well, there is often less awareness regarding other types of cancer. Ask your doctor if there are any screenings and tests you should do, and if you're at risk for colorectal cancer or are over the age of 50 and have not yet been tested, get it done.
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
  36. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Not with cancer, it isn't. Think of it as already diseased - it just hasn't manifested into a malignant tumor yet. Safe, effective gene therapy on an adult human is probably still decades away.
  37. Jimena

    Jimena Well-Known Member

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    That's the thing, Vash. It was a part of her body that had an almost 90% chance of being diseased in the future.
  38. Vash01

    Vash01 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a balanced article that discusses pros and cons.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/opinion/carroll-jolie-mastectomy/index.html

    I agree with the writer- here in the USA we want zero risk (or as close to 0 as possible). We have physical bodies. They are going to deteriorate in different ways. Disease, old age, death are realities of life. At some point we have to accept that.
  39. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    While it is true that mammograms are recommended in the US at a younger age than in most countries, preventive mastectomy for women with the BRCA mutation is not limited to the US. This is not about zero risk; it's about reducing an almost certainty of a serious, life-threatening illness to a more manageable risk. The other option for Jolie would be frequent screenings while living with the knowledge that there is a near certainty of getting breast cancer - in which case, the best case scenario is recovery after very difficult treatment (including surgery), and the worst case scenario is dying young like her own mother.

    I am sure this is not what you mean, but if we're all just meant to accept that the sort of health issues you write about are inevitable, why have preventive screenings at all? Why do genetic testing? Why treat certain conditions and certain people aggressively? I don't understand what you're advocating here. Sometimes the best course of action is conservative, but in some cases it's not. Jolie has done nothing groundbreaking, medically speaking; what's unique is that she's using her fame to draw attention to the matter, knowing that people will judge and criticize her decision. That's brave and worthy of admiration.
  40. liv

    liv Well-Known Member

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    I say great for her.

    I'm sure a lot of women get flack for considering this, are probably put under immense pressure not to do this...so a huge star, known for her sex appeal and beauty admitting to this, at a young age, will make it so much easier for other younger women to do if they need to. No one will be able to tell a woman that her sex appeal will be gone after having it done, after seeing that there really is nothing different about Angelina. Knowing your mother died young, knowing that you are most definitely going to get it, well, breasts are not that important compared to being around for your children and family. Good for her for shining more light on this type of situation.... and yes, i know she had reconstruction which makes it different compared to many others...
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