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Off with her breasts PDF Print
Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:17 AM

I’m sure many of you have read, seen or heard about Angelina Jolie having a double mastectomy when she found she carried the gene that made her 87 percent more likely (than someone who doesn’t) to get breast cancer and 50 percent more likely to get ovarian cancer.

In an article in time magazine, Jolie’s doctor said she has trimmed the frightening 87 percent down to just 5 percent with her bold proactive strike against a disease that has affected too many women and even men.

The 2009 Vanity Fair “Most Beautiful Woman in the World” revealed her decision in an op-ed in the New York Times. She explained her treatment decision: “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and minimize the risk as much as I could. … “I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear in people’s hearts.”

Jolie also had reconstructive surgery that looks to be quite successful.

Jolie is the not the first nor will she be the last. She’s not even the first Hollywood star to make the decision to do an end-run around breast cancer by removing what would be the host. She joins the likes of Christina Applegate, Sharon Osburn and Wanda Sykes.

A woman’s breasts have often been a measure of our beauty and for some, the very essence of womanhood. Made reverent in sculptures, paintings and film, a woman’s breasts have moved far beyond maternal necessity to, well, something we won’t discuss here. To most of us of the female persuasion, they’re just something we have. We may look at them and try to get the best out of them but to me, they’re just something I have. I don’t give them much thought unless I’m trying on new clothes or they get in the way (or catch that errant bit of sauce or crumb while I’m eating).

A sobering one in eight women will be effected by breast cancer during their lives. Breast cancer kills more women in the United States than any cancer except lung cancer. The five-year survival rate of breast cancer is over 90 percent when caught early.

That’s the key: catching it early. So, ladies, get those mammograms, self-exam and if you feel it necessary, get tested for the gene.

We all hope that one day cancer will be a thing of the past. We will talk about it like they do other diseases that are now a part of our history. Diseases that were eradicated through research and science.

On Friday, I watched as dozens of survivors made their way around the track during the opening of the 2013 Relay for Life. That always gets me. They are so brave and proud and humble at the same time. Among them were breast cancer survivors.

Last Updated on Saturday, June 22, 2013 12:20 AM

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