View Full Version : Elective preventative surgery

14th May 2013, 17:34
Angelina Jolie reveals she had a double mastectomy: latest - Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10056022/Angelina-Jolie-reveals-she-had-a-double-mastectomy-latest.html)

I have to admit being rather shocked when told of the news this morning, on the one side horrified, on the other in awe of the bravery needed to take such a step. My question, without any evidence of any cancer (in this case), but with a high statistical probability of something happening, should people be encouraged/supported in having elective preventative surgery/treatments ?


14th May 2013, 17:41
Whilst there is no doubt that some find successful treatment for cancer, it seems that others do not.

Is breast cancer incurable?

14th May 2013, 17:41
So is she to be called Angelina Moche, from now on.

14th May 2013, 17:46

Yes, breast cancer is curable. My mother had breast cancer many moons ago. Although the treatment was working she decided to go with a double mastectomy "just to be sure".

She died 4 years later of a cerebral hemorrhage/stroke.


Breast cancer is not something in any way, shape or form a matter of being funny. Your comments come across as rather crass, buddy.

14th May 2013, 18:07
Given that Angelina Jolie got famous in part due to her rack, and it kept her famous, and her being famous is why this is in the news at all, I felt that the wisecrack fits this case.

I would not make such a crack regarding the multitudes of the non-famous, or even the famous (such as Christina Applegate) who actually suffer from Breast Cancer.

For someone who thinks she might get it, but doesn't have it ... I don't think it's beyond the bounds of JB taste. (OK, so I set the bar low).

Your Mileage May Vary.

Sailor Vee
14th May 2013, 18:13
Agree wholeheartedly with rgbrock, my ex MIL and her mother both suffered from breast cancer. Ex has elected not to have surgery, but I have advised our daughter to consider the option.

14th May 2013, 18:22

You wrote about Christina Applegate. The most delicious woman on the earth. BTW: she does NOT have breast cancer anymore as she too elected to have a double mastectomy.

14th May 2013, 18:38
It must undoubtedly be one of the most traumatic moments in a woman's life to be told that she has this awful disease. One can't begin to imagine the despair felt by Carenza Lewis (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1329030/TV-womans-mastectomy-nightmare.html).

14th May 2013, 18:41
Judging by my mother's reaction to her decision to go with a mastectomy and the after effects I would say, yes, it is indeed one of the most traumatic events in a woman's life. If not the most.

14th May 2013, 18:44
When I heard the news about Jolie this morning my initial reaction was that it was rather poor taste to use this for publicity. It took me about 10 seconds to realise what an incredibly brave and difficult decision that must have been and that it wasn't a publicity stunt.

Having lost three friends to this terrible disease, even I find the 'jokes' inappropriate and I hope those who posted them will see fit to delete them. Please.

14th May 2013, 18:45
actually this gene-thing (in general, not just about boobs that get attention) is quite scary. So one gets ready for what might happen "Following the operations, Angelina's risk of contracting breast cancer has now dropped to under 5%." - but the odds are never nil, so what if you still get it, even though the risk was low?Can't imagine what I'd do if I were told I might get some fatal disease.

14th May 2013, 18:52

I don't think Ms. Jolie did this for a publicity stunt. Several "famous" women who have, or had, this dreadful disease have come out and told their stories about it. I think this is a very great, noble and brave thing for them to do. If it inspires just one woman to go get that mammography she may have been neglecting for the past few years, then so be it. And if it inspires yet one woman to continue on and not give up hope, even after a mastectomy, then bravo.


The odds of getting anything are never nil. It's the crap shoot called life. However, there may be predispositions (generic or not) toward a certain disease. Ms. Jolie, for example, was told that her risk of getting breast cancer was around 87% due to a genetic predisposition toward the same. She elected not to take that chance and had the double mastectomy. Lot of courage there.

14th May 2013, 19:35
You wrote about Christina Applegate. The most delicious woman on the earth. BTW: she does NOT have breast cancer anymore as she too elected to have a double mastectomy.
I know that, but she had it at the time. I know about her case, which is why I included her in that point.

For less emotional consideration of this topic ...

More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be? - Vitals (http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/14/18250762-more-women-opting-for-preventive-mastectomy-but-should-they-be?lite)

But why are so many women opting for surgery when survival rates for breast cancer are 93 percent if itís caught at the earliest stages and 88 percent at stage 1?

It seems that some doctors are puzzled at this uptick in requests for the surgery. Some consider the overwhelming publicity campaign of the past ten years, and all of the pink ribbons and awareness campaigns may be fueling an irrational fear.

That said, cancer sucks. No two ways around that.

Milo Minderbinder
14th May 2013, 19:50
So lets look at it from another point of view.....

how many of you would go for elective castration to prevent prostate cancer if you were told you were genetically high-risk?

spInY nORmAn
14th May 2013, 20:02
Despite Angelina Jolie's efforts to explain why she felt it necessary to make what must be an incredibly difficult and psychologically traumatic decision (best explained in her own words here http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/opinion/my-medical-choice.html?_r=0 ) it hasn't taken long for the press to weigh in with their laser-like insight to criticize her. One of Canada's national papers took her to task for making the procedure sound "simpler than it sounds" within 24 hours of her disclosure (Angelina Jolie: A double mastectomy isn?t as simple as she makes it sound - The Globe and Mail (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/angelina-jolie-a-double-mastectomy-isnt-as-simple-as-she-makes-it-sound/article11907345/) ).

If you read her own account nowhere does she state that the process was "simple" but that doesn't stop the press from inferring that due to her celebrity and wealth, she had it "easy". Certainly her money ensured that she could afford the best possible care, but no amount of money could make the decision to have, and actually going through with, a preventive double mastectomy "easy".

I'm just about ready to give up completely on mainstream media and throw my lot in with the various Internet based pundits for my news. At least they don't hide behind the guise of "professional journalism".

14th May 2013, 20:26
It's major surgery, it took months - and she explained that.

If the press failed to report that correctly, it's down to the reporters, not Angelina.

I am sure that (it being a planned surgery) it included implants - so it involved removing breast tissue she no longer needed (being finished with breast feeding) and replacing it with implant (which she does need, for her movie career).

It was a tough decision she made - I am impressed.

14th May 2013, 20:35
I heard a radio interview about this today. The lady speaking said, if you knew you were taking a flight that had a 87% chance of falling out of the sky, you wouldn't take that flight. She inferred that the the risk mitigation was the same.

14th May 2013, 21:39
Power to ya' elbow Angelina, wishing you a speedy and uneventful recovery :-)

DX Wombat
14th May 2013, 22:29
I find it very interesting to note that, with the exception of probes, so far all the replies have been made by men.
A difficult decision for her to make but I feel she was right. Having seen someone I knew as a baby die from this dreadful disease at the age of 23 leaving a small child of her own makes me even more convinced that she was right. She wants to protect her children from the premature, probably avoidable, chance of her death. Well done.

15th May 2013, 03:16
More power to a very inspirational lady.

The wife of a colleague suffered breast cancer which, after a double mastectomy and two rounds of chemo apparently moved to her lymphnodes. She then had a third round of chemo and is now in remission (thank heavens).

The thing is that she has never been able to recover from the mastectomies and refuses to leave the house. She has been shut in for more than 3 years now.

I have another friend who has had to have a hysterectomy (sic?) and apparently she said to her husband that if she had to get a mastectomy she would kill herself because she wouldn't be a woman anymore anyway.

These decisions play merry hell with a person's mental state in a private setting. Putting it out there on the international stage takes guts that a Marine charging up Omaha Beach would be inspired by.

15th May 2013, 10:52
There's no doubt that to be left open to the ravages of cancer is no joke, however (in this case) a healthy AJ found out that she had the BRAC1 gene and that the statistical chance of something malignant happening was very high. As she has already been the natural mother to a few children, perhaps even breastfed them and her body has secreted all the normal and natural hormones during this period, yet she hasn't apparently shown the slightest sign of mammarian cancer at the age of 37, it makes me question whether she would have contracted cancer at all. She does have a higher than normal chance of it happening, but that doesn't mean that it will. A very proactive stance by AJ, of that there's no argument, but I'm left uncomfortable at the thought of people making these huge decisions without there being evidence of any dis-ease when they do.

Statistics, as we know are malleable, and often cover a very wide range of people and ages within their test results, such as 18-70 years old. The older end of the scale will skew the findings as much as the younger end of the scale. A personal choice when all's said and done, but is it necessary ?


15th May 2013, 12:18
I heard a radio interview about this today. The lady speaking said, if you knew you were taking a flight that had a 87% chance of falling out of the sky, you wouldn't take that flight. She inferred that the the risk mitigation was the same.
That was the argument of an idiot.

If you note from my last post, the treatment and success rates of early discovery are significantly positive. The recovery rate from an airplane (falling out of the sky)? Not so much. Falling isn't flying, and (since we are dealing with a stall in that case) more likely to be fatal.

Someone did make a good point a few posts up: her body, her tits, her risks, and the freedom (and means) to make a decision. In that regard, others second guessing her decision don't have the benefit from being 'in her shoes.' She's free to make such a decision, and did.

I can't overlook, however, the medical professionals discussing necessary versus un-necessary surgery. Their points should not be ignored. When celebrities do something, sometimes is creates a fad like follow on effect.

15th May 2013, 12:28
Hopefully I will never find myself in a position where I'm faced with that kind of decision and cannot possibly comment on the choices of someone who has.

My concern relates to what has been caled the "pink ribbon effect", whenever someone famous gets cancer or has treatment related to it , all rational thought tends to go out of the minds of the masses.

I already have a hard enough time convincing my work colegaues that it isn't the government being "cheap" when they'll only offer mammograms to women over a certain age. People refuse to understand my arguments that screening can actually be harmful in some cases.

One celebrity anecdote overrides any scientifically valid data.

15th May 2013, 15:04
Turning on Angelina Jolie and her Double Mastectomy (http://daily-download.com/turning-angelina-jolie/)

"As Jolieís courageous example reminds us, the bullies who delight in taking potshots are simpletons who trash other people because they are desperate for attention.

We need to see them for what they are: pathetic."

15th May 2013, 15:08

Anyone who "turns on" her for the action she undertook which, conceivably, saved her life are nothing but low-lifes and scumbags. Basta.

Mac the Knife
15th May 2013, 17:55
"I have a sarcoma on my ear which remains small and static and my choice (while keeping a watch on it) is not to go near my neighborhood dermatologist because if he sees it* he'll whip out his scalpel and have it off."

OFSO, if it is really a sarcoma (how do you know?) then you need a plastic or head-and-neck surgeon pronto.



cockney steve
15th May 2013, 18:23
My daughter is aged 34,- her best mate at school lost her mother to a second invasion of breast-cancer.
the girl is now grown -up, finished Uni, twice-married and has 2 children under 10.
Some years ago, she underwent a NHS breast-reduction instead of complete removal and implants (they had been enormous, uncomfortable and giving posture and back-pain problems)
Now she has copped for this horrible disease, also has deep-seated mental-health problems, double-mastectomy, chemo and R/therapy.
she separated from her second husband who has custody of their children.
Think you've got problems?....think of that poor 34-year old.