preventive surgery


I know and you know that Angelina Jolie has been all over the news this week because she tested positive for a gene that increases her risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer. She decided to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction….just in case. And I believe she is also planning to get her ovaries removed.

I seem to be in the minority among people close to me. My kids are saying, Hell, if you can afford it, why not? I have so many bad feelings about it, it hurts.

I just read an excellent article by Dr John McDougall which expresses so well the thoughts that have been going through my head that I thought I’d link to it, so if I express myself badly he can be my backup!

Here’s what I think, as briefly as possible…

  • Angelina may still get cancer – there are no guarantees.
  • If she doesn’t, there will be no way to prove whether the surgery was successful, or in fact she wouldn’t have had it anyway
  • How confident can doctors be of the risk that they are willing to go out on a limb and say she has an 87% risk of contracting breast cancer?
  • There are many factors in keeping oneself cancer-free that involve less drastic and invasive methods – a wholefood vegan diet, for one.
  • How many body parts are sufficiently dispensable or able to be replaced with prostheses that a profit-driven medical system will start to offer replacement for those who have the means to pay?
  • Wouldn’t it be better to leave the body alone, uncut, and simply monitor the situation? Seems to me that surgery carries its own risks, including breaching cancer cells and causing them to spread around the body. This again is a sticky area for me, because apparently our bodies are constantly creating and dissolving cancer cells/tumours without our even being aware of it, so constant checking often means that something is “caught” that would have naturally been dealt with by our bodies’ immune systems, easily and painlessly.
  • There are many factors in why people get cancer and whilst genetics may be one factor, so can crappy diet, smoking, drinking, and, yes, bad karma (and I do believe that it is a real thing). Doctors don’t know it all.

Well, that’s probably enough said on that subject. Back to the knitting!




4 responses »

  1. The only way to avoid decay in your body is to be dead. If she finds she’s got a genetic propensity for heart disease, is she going to have her heart removed, too?
    I’m with you – there are so many things wrong with this it’s hard to know where to start. Best stick with knitting, we know that’s a healthy thing to do!

  2. I was alarmed when I saw the headlines – and truthfully, never bothered to read any of the articles – but my gut instinct tells me this is going to lead to a whole bunch of women getting surgery unnecessarily. Sad.

  3. Yes, celebrities are very influential people. Sadly! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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