Angelina Jolie, famous actress and director, posted on The New York Times with a rather shocking story. She had undergone a preventative double mastectomy earlier this year and wanted to share her experience with other women, to encourage them to get tested for cancer. Her mother had passed away from breast cancer and Jolie discovered through gene testing that she carries a gene which increases her risk of cancer. She had been given two estimations of two different types of cancer. 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer.
It’s very brave of her to admit she chose to have a double mastectomy as this was a choice to prevent, not a case of curing a disease that was present. One thing that struck a chord with us, was her explaining that she doesn’t feel any less of a woman and that her choice has reassured her family:
I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.
(Via The NY Times)
TMB is very passionate in raising awareness, because cancer affects so many women and families. Whether it be breast or ovarian cancer, or experiencing a family or friend who has fought against the disease, many people have been affected. Gene testing can help women find out if they have an increased risk of cancer and is vital in finding ways to prevent it. If you have had cancer in your family, then it may be worth seeing your local doctor to discuss gene testing, just in case.
If you would like to help raise awareness, then please share this post or donate to National Breast Cancer or Ovarian Cancer. If you’re in Hong Kong, then you can always donate to the Hong Kong Cancer Fund. Jolie ends the article with an inspiring message, “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.” Raise awareness and give yourself options by taking steps to get tested.