Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Angelina's Choice: Another Viewpoint
Disclaimer: I have always liked Angelina Jolie. Even when B-man says, 'I don't get all the hype,' I still like her and respect her choices of motherhood and advocacy. And I respect her decision to have preventive surgery.
But the hype around this is freaking me out.
1) In spite of health care reform, medicine is still big business. Routine tests like mammograms and colonoscopys have been shown in recent years to be excessive and maybe even dangerous. False positives and high radiation make annual mammograms questionable. And if your bowel happens to get nicked during a routine colonoscopy (I'm just sayin', it happens), you will deal with that mistake for the rest of your life. Creating fear first, then prompting action, keeps the patients, and the dollars, rolling in.
2) Just a little research will reveal that the data around this type of genetic testing is...uncertain. Angelina can remove her breasts, her ovaries and any other body part that is vulnerable to cancer, but there are no guarantees.
3) Angelina, do what you need to do, but resist sharing this news with the world and encouraging other women to do the same. However heroic and courageous Brad Pitt thinks you are, this is a private decision. Using your celebrity to influence other women to have preventive surgery is the result of misplaced advocacy.
4) And why are women primarily being targeted for this possibly unnecessary body mutilation? I have yet to hear of a test that identifies the gene for testicular cancer. Or encouragement for preventive surgery.
Finally, based on the simple law of physics (like attracts like) Angelina may be more - not less - likely to get cancer now than she was before, because her entire focus is on 'KILLING THE CANCER BEFORE IT SHOWS UP AND KILLS ME.'
Something about this just doesn't sit quite right.
Image from wikipedia.com