Support for Angelina JolieToday one of the big news stories is that actress Angelina Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy after a genetic test showed she was at high risk for cancer. As is sure to happen in the wake of anyone newsworthy doing anything newsworthy, I saw plenty of criticism of her choice on the internet. I wanted to respond to those criticisms with support.
I'll preface by saying that Ms Jolie has made a choice I'm unlikely to make. I don't have a strong family history of breast cancer, and I shy away from routine medical tests as it is ( not from either a philosophical or monetary standpoint, but because I have to have a pretty good reason to let someone poke or prod or stick a needle in me) . If I did get tested for BRCA1, I still think I would take the drastic step of surgery, but rather vigilant testing. I'm also not speaking as a hard core Jolie fan who thinks she can do no wrong. I'm just speaking as a woman.
She acted out of fear: Well, yeah. Her mother died of breast cancer and CANCER IS FREAKING SCARY. Next.
She had work done: What, a Hollywood actress had work done on her boobs? Now that's newsworthy. 'd never go under the knife for purely cosmetic reasons but if I had to have major surgery with reconstruction, such as double mastectomy, you can bet I'd want my boobs to come out perkier on the other side.
Not everyone can afford to do what she did!: It's absolutely true that Angelina Jolie lives a life of extreme privilege and that a great number of American women either cannot afford genetic testing or could not afford elective mastectomy in the wake of finding out about genetic risk. But guess what? If untold women cannot get potentially lifesaving testing or preventative surgery in THE RICHEST NATION IN THE WORLD, that says nothing about Angelina Jolie. It says a lot about our state of health care access.