I imagine most people have heard about this already. Maybe many of you have heard about this all day. Angelina Jolie had a blood test that revealed a genetic mutation that put her at heightened risk of breast and ovarian cancers. In response, she chose to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction. This has certainly opened a floodgate of conversation on the topic.
Jolie’s New York Times article gives a lot of helpful information. She talks about her mother’s ovarian cancer and death. She talks about her own desire for certainty for herself and security for her children. She provides an excellent example of options that people weight when making serious medical decisions.
For me the most important part of the article is this:
“For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.”
She’s explaining her rationale to share such a personal story. She’s hoping to educate people and encourage them to further educate themselves. I imagine she already has.
That’s the power of celebrity. When she writes something, people read it, and even more, other people talk about it. While this has already endured something of a backlash and a wave of articles defending her choice to write about her mastectomies, no one can deny that more people are thinking about pro-active decisions in the face of cancer today than they do on most days. To me, this seems unambiguously like a good thing.