Angelina Jolie’s Brave Decision to Prevent Breast Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 40,000 women will lose their life from it in the USA in 2013. Scientific breakthroughs on genetic testing can help determine if a woman has a very high risk of breast cancer before she gets it. Women with the genetic mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 are at extremely high risks of getting breast cancer. Detecting the genetic mutations can be a matter of life or death; detection can actually help a woman reduce her risk of breast cancer from as much as 90% to as little as 5%.

Breast Cancer Treatment

Angelina Jolie shocked the world with her announcement that she is one such woman with the breast cancer causing genetic mutation. As a result, she was faced with the choice to take preventative measures by undergoing a double mastectomy or to wait for cancer to strike. With an 87% chance of getting cancer, Jolie opted for a double mastectomy, followed by breast reconstruction.

Jolie’s explained her choice was not an easy one. Yet, having experienced the excruciatingly painful loss of her own mother to cancer, in part, Jolie made the decision to spare her own children from similar pain. With a supportive partner by her side, Jolie was able to confidently make a decision to proactively fight against breast cancer for the sake of not only herself, but also her family.

To complete her double mastectomy and breast reconstruction, Jolie required multiple surgeries that took place over the course of three months. Yet, had she waited until she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she may have still had to undergo not only a mastectomy, but also much longer and intense treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Angelina Jolie was fortunate enough to be able to afford extensive preventative cancer treatment. For most women, the amount it costs to be tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2 is in itself too big a drain on their financial resources. The addition of cost of double mastectomy and breast reconstruction makes breast cancer treatment almost unfeasible for them.

Luckily, there are options for women who cannot afford preventative breast cancer treatment in the United States. Traveling to Turkey, India, Mexico or Jordan for testing and a preventative mastectomy is an affordable option for women who cannot spend tens of thousands of dollars that American hospitals charge for the full treatment. In these prime medical tourism destinations, the cost of treatment is as much as 30-70% less than it is in America.

Jolie is an inspiration to many women who are considering taking action against cancer before it strikes. Her bravery is sure to ignite an interest in mastectomy preventative care and her own battle has already begun to help society redefine femininity. If one or more of your relatives has suffered from breast cancer, then you might be a prime candidate for genetic testing to see whether or not you possess the gene mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2. It is recommended you speak to a doctor to discuss genetic testing for breast cancer and possible preventative treatments.

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