Thursday, May 30, 2013

Would you?


 I'm sure many of you have seen or heard the articles about Angeline Jolie having a double mastectomy and reconstruction with plans for a second surgery to remove her ovaries in the news these past few weeks. 

Due to a genetic variant, Angelina carried an 87% risk of developing breast cancer. She also carries a high risk for ovarian cancer. 


Shannon (my sister) and I were texting back and forth about the topic only to find out we had differing opinions on the subject. 

Shannon agreed that if she were in the same position, she'd have made the same choice. And although I respect Angie's decision as cancer and surgery is never ever something to be taken lightly, I don't think I'd do it. Monitor extremely closely....absolutely. But to me, there's still that 12% chance you wouldn't get cancer....and what if you were part of that 12%  

Then again, I don't have a brood of children to stick around and mother which, I'm sure, is a whole other contributing factor. 

I've actually been thinking on this topic a lot which, naturally made me curious.....what about you? 
If you carried that high a risk, would you have followed in Angelina's footsteps? Or would you settle in the risk of being part of the 12%?



17 comments:

Katie said...

I get really frustrated when celebs like Angie talk about their extreme preventative surgeries. Not because I disagree or whatever- but because they are really misleading. First of all, the average person can't afford to even get tested for the cancer gene. It's not covered by insurance and costs an arm and a leg. Second, if you can't afford the testing them there's absolutely No Way you can afford to get your breasts removed along with your ovaries. This surgeries areonly for the privileged - not covered at all by insurance and affordable only to people like celebs. I love that celebs are touting health, but they're painting a truly unrealistic picture for the general population!

Kaileigh said...

I actually wrote a post about this same thing because I said I would consider it and my sister in-law said no way! I think that once you are a mother (which I'm not) your opinions on things like this are very different. I also agree with Katie's comment that there are expenses to the testing and then the surgeries which would make it that this isn't even an option for the majority of people.

The Neal's said...

There was a article in a local magazine a few months ago about a young mother who did the same thing, and I thought it was really brave. Cost aside, I would totally do it if it meant having the peace of mind that I would be able to be a mother my babies for that much longer. Having to constantly live with the feat that there may be a silent killer (esp. ov ca) growing inside you would drive me crazy - but I'm a worry wort anyway!

SHUG IN BOOTS {Beth} said...

I'm with Katie. What's overwhelming is that celebrities have oodles of money to spend on preventative shit. And from a faith perspective, I sort of feel like it's past the line of playing God. I mean, she could get hit by a bus next year. Or maybe she WILL develop those cancers but she'll catch them early enough to cure them. Or, maybe she won't develop them until she's 89 years old. I think it's over the top and sort of "showy". Good for you! Glad you have ass loads of money to just switch out your parts. The rest of us have to deal with those issues as they arise. But, even if I could afford it, I don't know - I think I'm like you, I would want to monitor more often and more closely, and it would make me wanna have kids sooner, but I don't know that I'd just have an (at this point in time) unnecessary surgery. Surgery is no joke and you can screw up a lot of things when you remove organs. For example, I had a fallopian tube out, but they left the ovary because your ovaries are responsible for lots of hormones that regulate your body everyday. Ovaries aren't just for making babies!

Good topic, Ash!

Jocelyn said...

I would do it IF I were diagnosed with breast cancer, but not as a preventative measure. There's risk with any surgery. Even if I were diagnosed with cancer in one breast, I would have both lopped off. I have heard anout so many people just doing the one breast and later winds up spreading to the other even years later. There's always reconstruction! .

Shannon said...

I'm with your sis, Shannon. Especially now that my family is three months away from being complete. I'd cut things off and pull things out if it drastically reduced my chance at cancer. IF I could afford it, that is...

jayme said...

genetics say i have a higher risk also but my lady lumps are here to stay until they prove me wrong. if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Lindsay said...

GIRL! I ALWAYS read your blog but for some reason bloglovin never lets me comment on yours posts GRR! HOpe your doing well xo

julia rose. said...

My roommate and I were JUST discussing this the other night. She said that she would follow the course of Angelina- have it all removed and replaced basically.
I, on the other hand, don't know that I would. Like you said- you still have that small chance that you would never develop any cancer and wouldn't have to ever worry about it.
It's also like she's trying to beat God out of His plan. If she's going to end up with cancer... she's going to and there's no way around it. I have a friend whose mother had breast cancer, beat it, had a mesectomy to prevent future problems... and then ended up with cancer in her lymph nodes and died because of it.
This is such a great topic- I might have to steal it for a blog post haha...

Elizabeth James said...

absolutely. I work on an Oncology floor at a main hospital in a large city. I have seen several go from being diagnosed (not catching it early enough- even people who kept close eyes) to passing in weeks after a diagnosis. It can be rather quick and sometimes only caught with testing. I've also seen a diagnosis lived through and fought for years. I would rather take it all and live my life with peace of mind, rather than have that piece of info in the back of my mind.

Brittany said...

Wow this is a good topic and after reading the comments I see that some people feel really strongly about it one way or another. I have actually thought about this before. I like to think that I would be someone who would have the preventive surgery but if it really came to that I don't know if I could do it since I would have that small hope that I would be okay.

Ginger said...

Considering I am a colon cancer survivor who had six months of chemo back in 2007, I completely understand and would do the same thing. A colleague of mine who is about 33 was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and she had the same radical surgery. I don't know whether she carries that gene, but she didn't want to worry about a reoccurrence.

Hillary said...

I can honestly say that I respect the fact that Angie are doing this. This is a decision I thought I was going to have to face. My mom died of cancer when I was very young. It started as breast cancer and finally developed into bone cancer. I was so young that I don't really have good memories of her. I have dealt with the fear that I would die like that my whole life. I found a lump in high school. Luckily it wasn't cancer. I had pretty major surgery to remove it though. We couldn't take any chances. Found another lump when I was pregnant with my second child. Thankfully it was a clogged milk duct. I finally got the gene testing done this past September. I DON'T HAVE THE GENE! I told my husband that if the news came back that I did have the gene, I was cutting off my boobs. To me there was no other choice. I would not risk my children going through what I went through. Sorry I wrote a book, but I feel so strongly on this.

Lizzy said...

One of the Miss America contestants this year did this too, but I don't think she got as much publicity as Angelina did.

I don't think I'd have the preventative surgery done because of money reasons, and I don't want fake boobs ever. Having to get them replaced every 10 years or so, no thanks! Like you said, what if you are the 12% that doesn't get it and spent all that money? I think if the risks were higher, then maybe I'd consider it.

I also think something like that should be kept in their personal lives. Just because she came out and said she had the surgery done doesn't help others. I think of it as a slap in the face for people who can't afford to do that.

Kristin M. Jones said...

Most insurance covers genetic testing if you have a close family member who has tested positive for one of the handful of breast cancer genes. The initial genetic testing generally happens when someone has already been diagnosed with breast cancer. Insurance then covers female family members' testing because it is MUCH cheaper to prevent cancer then to treat it. I know several women who tested positive and had profalactic surgeries, which were covered by their insurance. Again, it's in the insurance company's best interest to pay some now, versus paying for years of treatment later. All that say, this is something all women with a family history of breast cancer should think about, regardless of income.

Shannon said...

I just noticed somebody said that bloglovin doesn't let her comment on your blog and I wanted to let you know that it doesn't let me either. Whenever I want to comment on your blog from bloglovin, I have to right click and open in new tab. Of course, I do it all the time b/c you're worth it, but others may be having the same problem. Just a FYI!

Katie said...

Oh gosh. I go back and forth trying to think of what I would do. Part of me feels like I would have the surgery if I knew I was at such a high risk simply because you never know how strongly the cancer will appear if you do end up getting it plus if it were to be the kind that spreads to other parts of your body. That would make me definitely think about it. But the other part says that nothing is certain and to have all of that removed when you may never ever get the disease would just be sad. I probably wouldn't get the surgery. Mainly because in reality I could never afford it and it would not even be a possibility.

I guess my real decision would be made when I found out if I had the high risk or not and would go from there.

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