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  1. #41
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    i dont understand why having reconstructive surgery makes her decision somehow less than others who didnt for some people. i'm not addressing that to you, liv. i have read some comments here and elsewhere today and i've been meaning to ask.
    I feel like I'm in a dream. But it can't be a dream because there are no boy dancers!

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    Actually, reconstructive surgery is a lot more painful and the recovery time is longer.
    Women are allowed to make their own choices about their bodies without judgement from people who know nothing about their struggle.
    As a BC survivor, I'm telling you that if I had the test and it was positive, I'd get my breasts removed.

  3. #43

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    I know this is a discussion board, but I don't understand any of the negativity re Jolie's decisions and/or her reconstructive surgery. 87% is nearly a certainty. Cancer isn't something that you can necessarily cure -- even if found early. Maybe screening has skewed that view, but not all cancers are created equal. If I was found to have this genetic mutation, I would be first in line to make sure I gave myself the best possible chance of living a long life -- especially if I had children. And reconstructive surgery is a personal decision. If a woman feels it will improve her quality of life, she should do it!!! That's what it's there for!

    I know too many folks who did absolutely everything right as far as screening is concerned, and didn't make it -- my beloved stepdad included (prostate cancer). His PSA never indicated ANY issues. His physicians never felt any irregularities with digital examinations. He had a very aggressive form of cancer that did not respond well to any available treatment (prostatectomy, hormone, chemo).

    Sorry, but waiting for an 87% chance to happen, is just plain stupid when there are viable options to avoid this killer of a disease.

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    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.
    I would agree that surgery is the last resort usually, but she knew she had an extremely high probability of going through surgery and chemo later, and took the course that had less risk for death at a young age, relatively. If I had the same choice to make, I would do the same, no hesitations. Why wait for the inevitable when you can nip it in the bud?

    What she did takes cast iron balls. Very admirable.

    i dont understand why having reconstructive surgery makes her decision somehow less than others who didnt for some people. i'm not addressing that to you, liv. i have read some comments here and elsewhere today and i've been meaning to ask.
    I find that curious too, in this day when the advances in cosmetic surgery are so amazing. There is no need for a woman to not have reconstructive surgery after mastectomy, unless she chooses not to. My co worker had a double mastectomy and reconstructive work and insurance covered it, so why ever would Angelina Jolie, who is well off, not do the same?
    Last edited by leesaleesa; 05-15-2013 at 01:48 AM.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    Here is a balanced article that discusses pros and cons.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/opinio...omy/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.
    Then would you stop brushing your teeth? Start smoking? Engage in other unhealthy activity? Because her risk of cancer is comparable to a smokers. Yes, we are all going to die but no one wants to die after having gone through surgery chemo and other associated treatments. They are torture.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by liv View Post
    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...
    This is what I thought too after reading her article. Angelina is someone who is extremely famous not just for who she is as a person, but what kind of image she portrays. Women are going to look at her and say, "Well, if Angelina could do that and still be super sexy and not embarrassed and whatnot, why can't I?"

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    I think that what Angelina did was amazing. She 1) took control of her own health and well being and made an educated decision that was best for her and her family and 2) went public with a very private issue that she didn't have to discuss but felt compelled to. It was unbelievably brave on so many levels.

    My concern is that there are so many women who do not have access to the kind of care Angelina got. How many people will fight with their insurance companies about coverage for testing? I saw on television this morning that all won't cover it and it costs thousands. What about the ones who don't have coverage at all? Testing only saves lives when you have access to it. Isn't this considered preventive medicine?
    The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are--Joseph Campbell

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    I think it was a brave and wise decision on her part.Someone in my family had a similar situation 8 years ago,and she had a double masectomy;also,I myself had a breast cancer scare year before last,making this sort of a decision is something I had to consider and the concept that you might have breast cancer is unbelievably frightening...my results came back good.Thank the Lord.No surgery.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by FiveRinger View Post
    My concern is that there are so many women who do not have access to the kind of care Angelina got. How many people will fight with their insurance companies about coverage for testing? I saw on television this morning that all won't cover it and it costs thousands. What about the ones who don't have coverage at all? Testing only saves lives when you have access to it. Isn't this considered preventive medicine?
    She mentions that in her article: very few women have access to the genetic testing:

    Breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    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.
    There is no logic in your statement. Yes, reducing her chance of getting breast cancer does not mean she cannot get another kind of cancer. But she is highly genetically predisposed to breast cancer and made an informed decision to mitigate that risk.

    If you at look the average likelihood of a person's getting cancer, it is much lower than Jolie's likelihood of getting breast cancer.

    What you seem to be suggesting is that the surgery won't make any difference in Jolie's susceptibility to cancer and that's where you aren't being logical. She has reduced a known cancer threat dramatically, so her overall likelihood of getting cancer will be reduced. Sure, she might get an another cancer at some point in her life. But the likelihood of that has been reduced. Plus, she is far less likely to die from cancer at 56 than her mother did.

    Many people would make the same decision if they had access to necessary funds, resources and supports.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Then would you stop brushing your teeth? Start smoking? Engage in other unhealthy activity? Because her risk of cancer is comparable to a smokers. Yes, we are all going to die but no one wants to die after having gone through surgery chemo and other associated treatments. They are torture.
    In a similar vein, I'm getting my ass to the gym and lifting weights like one of the guys because I don't want to end up like my grandmother did - never walking again after breaking her hip and wasting away for a year completely bedridden. It was horrible to watch her give up like that, believing she was incapable of recovering. My own mother was diagnosed with osteoporosis at 52. Hopefully she'll continue to lead a more active life and not simply give up like her mother did, but already, she has to be very careful about falling. I've already promised her that she insists on staying in bed for more than a week, I'll go to her house and kick her out of it myself.

    Will the weightlifting help? I don't know. Maybe it won't - my cousin in medical school is pretty sure I'm screwed no matter what I do because of my genetics. But I'm sure not going to give up and just take it lying down.

  12. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimena View Post
    That's the thing, Vash. It was a part of her body that had an almost 90% chance of being diseased in the future.
    It was only a chance, not a certainty. Angelina made an individual decision for herself, depending on how she felt about it, and she has the right to. It's hard to say what I would have done if I were in her shoes, but my preference is always to use surgery as the last resort. My concern is that women that don't need it will rush into it just because a celebrity did it.

    I am sure removing one's breasts will make some feel fearless for sometime. What about the next disease and the next and the next?

    I watched an interview of another woman (can't remember her name- today I have been particularly bad about remembering names) on CNN tonight. She already had breast cancer in the initial phase, so that was a completely different situation. It was reasonable for her to consider the double mastectomy (instead of a single one, although I am sure her doctor will advise her of the options available to her), but she was talking as if Angelina had inspired her to do that (I am paraphrasing). If she has breast cancer, she needs to do what her doctor advises her, not what Angelina writes in an article about her own experience. Every situation is different, and I am afraid this could create some gross generalizations and some unnecessary surgeries.

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    Will the weightlifting help? I don't know. Maybe it won't - my cousin in medical school is pretty sure I'm screwed no matter what I do because of my genetics. But I'm sure not going to give up and just take it lying down.
    I think there is strong evidence suggesting that the weightlifting will in fact help - genetic tendency doesn't have to be a certainty. Plus, the benefits of exercise in general are well documented - and have a huge impact on older people's well-being.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    It was only a chance, not a certainty. Angelina made an individual decision for herself, depending on how she felt about it, and she has the right to. It's hard to say what I would have done if I were in her shoes, but my preference is always to use surgery as the last resort. My concern is that women that don't need it will rush into it just because a celebrity did it.

    I am sure removing one's breasts will make some feel fearless for sometime. What about the next disease and the next and the next?
    IMO a nearly 90% chance isn't really a "chance" anymore. I'm an annoyingly persistent optimist, but I don't buy lotto tickets.

    Of course one shouldn't just go around removing livers and lungs and pancreases and brains if they find they have a chance of getting cancer in those areas. But you can live without breast tissue, so I think the fear of that kind of escalation is unfounded.

  15. #55
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    I don't understand the logic behind the idea that just because one makes a decision to significantly reduce the risk of a specific kind of cancer (90% chance is an extreme likelihood) is somehow a bad decision just because there's a chance she can get another form of cancer. Breast cancer, and maybe ovarian cancer, are two types of cancer that Jolie was in danger of getting had she not taken preventive measures.

    Criticizing her decision for taking these steps just because getting a double mastectomy won't reduce the risk of her getting leukemia or lung cancer, developing other sorts of diseases, or getting hit by a bus tomorrow makes no logical sense what-so-ever. It's like criticizing someone for getting treated for heart disease when they are at a high risk because that doesn't prevent one from getting pneumonia.

    Obviously, people might look into mastectomies more because the social stigma of not having breasts might be lessened with a celebrity making it more ok for it being option, but the idea of removing one's breasts is still a huge deal, and I doubt most doctors and patients will look into this procedure lightly, unless the doctors want to expose themselves to serious malpratice suits.

    Also, Vash01, the article you linked to did not talk specifically to Jolie's case which is that she had a mutated gene that would have most likely led to her developing cancer. The article was written to talk about how women need to be more informed before they made a life-altering decision. The woman the doctor talked about who decided to not get the mastectomy did not have the same mutated gene Jolie had, so their situations are not comparable. The only reason why people are jumping on your comments is because you had pre-judged Jolie's decision without fully understanding what her situation was and you were minimizing the fact that she had a 90% chance of developing the cancer. You then mentioned how it was a bad decision or "unwise" only because she could develop something else. True, she could, but we're dealing with probabilities here, and she decided to get treatment for something that was probably going to happen to her due to her mutated gene and her family history.

    I understand the article was written to make sure women do not prematurely decide to get the procedure done without knowing all of the facts about their condition and consulting health experts in the field, but I find it "overzealous" to think that just because Angelina Jolie did it, it means women everywhere are going to decide to get rid of their breasts if they do not suffer the same condition Jolie suffered from. It's fear-mongering, and it's unfair to women who will hesitate to get mastectomies because they are afraid of "cutting up their bodies" or getting rid of their breasts because society still thinks women should hold on to them for as long as possible due to beauty or feminine aesthetics or social pressures despite what is really best for their health.
    Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 05-15-2013 at 09:43 AM.

  16. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    It was only a chance, not a certainty. Angelina made an individual decision for herself, depending on how she felt about it, and she has the right to. It's hard to say what I would have done if I were in her shoes, but my preference is always to use surgery as the last resort. My concern is that women that don't need it will rush into it just because a celebrity did it.

    I am sure removing one's breasts will make some feel fearless for sometime. What about the next disease and the next and the next?

    I watched an interview of another woman (can't remember her name- today I have been particularly bad about remembering names) on CNN tonight. She already had breast cancer in the initial phase, so that was a completely different situation. It was reasonable for her to consider the double mastectomy (instead of a single one, although I am sure her doctor will advise her of the options available to her), but she was talking as if Angelina had inspired her to do that (I am paraphrasing). If she has breast cancer, she needs to do what her doctor advises her, not what Angelina writes in an article about her own experience. Every situation is different, and I am afraid this could create some gross generalizations and some unnecessary surgeries.
    As Anita has pointed out, a nearly 90% risk of developing what would likely be a very aggressive form of breast cancer was not an acceptable risk to Jolie, and clearly her doctors felt that this decision was medically sound. Did the woman on CNN have a relatively treatable form of breast cancer? Did she have the genetic mutation that Jolie has? It's not just the risk of getting cancer but what sort of cancer one is at risk of; obviously some are more aggressive and less treatable than others.

    Women who get mastectomies do so because it significantly cuts the risk of breast cancer diagnosis/recurrence. Though hardly the same thing, people also have precancerous moles and problematic skin removed rather than risk melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, or undergo other procedures to reduce their risk of getting cancer. Nobody does it to feel fearless; people who are at high risk for specific cancers - whether due to age, genetic reasons, or because they've had it before - often have to undergo more testing and at an earlier age than the regular population, which is hardly conducive to a feeling of fearlessness.

    It's possible to live without breasts, so those at high risk for breast cancer can take preventive measures - an option that doesn't always exist for people who have high risk of other forms of cancer or illness. Nonetheless, I highly doubt that women will be moved to have unnecessary mastectomies simply because a famous woman had a medically indicated one. More likely it will make women aware of the possibility of genetic tests, and if that's the case, maybe more women will be able to make informed decisions. And if women whose odds of getting cancer are substantially reduced by having a mastectomy see Jolie as a positive example, well, why is that a bad thing? Better to lose your breasts than your life.

    I really don't understand why you are so insistent that Jolie should have taken her chances - and poor chances at that. Why should she play the odds with her own health, risking the high likelihood of getting a type of cancer that may not be treatable?

  17. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by my little pony View Post
    i dont understand why having reconstructive surgery makes her decision somehow less than others who didnt for some people. i'm not addressing that to you, liv. i have read some comments here and elsewhere today and i've been meaning to ask.
    It's not about the decision being "less" exactly, but i find it mitigates the bravery accolades. hell, i would have the reconstruction too but After having a couple of kids, her breasts probably look better now than before. So while I find her choice admirable, I still think she is an incredibly blessed individual, who lost almost nothing with this decision and gained alot. her life will be just as fabulous as ever. I realize this is not exactly a socially acceptable position but there it is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    It's not about the decision being "less" exactly, but i find it mitigates the bravery accolades. hell, i would have the reconstruction too but After having a couple of kids, her breasts probably look better now than before. So while I find her choice admirable, I still think she is an incredibly blessed individual, who lost almost nothing with this decision and gained alot. her life will be just as fabulous as ever. I realize this is not exactly a socially acceptable position but there it is.
    I am totally flabbergasted that anyone could think this about someone having a double mastectomoy and reconstructive surgery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    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.
    I know someone who has the gene, a neighbor. Both her mother and sister died from breast cancer. My neighbor decided to have the double mastectomy (she did not have cancer - yet), this was 15 years ago. It was not as common back then. She got a lot of flack for doing something so radical. She asked me what I thought. My first answer was that it was none of my business. My second was a question: What was her level of anxiety about getting breast cancer and dying? Her answer was - extreme. To the point that it was interfering with her ability to have a normal life. My reply: then you absolutely did the right thing. Psychological pain/anxiety/worry can compromise the quality of your life. If the surgery can restore your quality of life, and that of your family's - you do what you have to do. I think my neighbor knew she did the right thing, but needed validation from someone other than a loved one.

    My SIL had breast cancer. A small, noninvasive lump. They did a lumpectomy. Two years later, she had cancer in the other breast, a different kind. Though there was no lymph node involvement, she had for a double mastectomy. She also had chemo, radiation, and a hysterectomy. She did everything she could to prevent it from coming back. It was hard time, in her life (and her family's) but she did the right thing. Her sister had breast cancer a few years later. Noninvasive, opted for the lumpectomy. I had hoped, that in light of her sister's recurrence, she would opt for the mastectomy. Neither of them have markers. If I had to make the choice, I would opt for the mastectomy. I would not want to take any chances.

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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    I am totally flabbergasted that anyone could think this about someone having a double mastectomoy and reconstructive surgery.
    Me, too.

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