7/10 Women Inspired By ‘Jolie Effect’ On Cancer Treatment
Celebrity endorsement in matters concerning our health are always a little disconcerting but this week brought a truly powerful story of a famous person battling an intensely private disease to the fore. We are of course talking about Angelina Jolie, who shocked the world by announcing she underwent a double mastectomy earlier this year after being told she had an 87% risk of developing breast cancer.
The Hollywood starlet went for genetic tests and was informed she was likely to inherit cancer genes from her mother, who fought breast cancer for nearly a decade and finally died aged 56. Now she wants every woman in the world to “know she has options” should they be confronted by the Big C at any point in their life. Of course, not everyone has the options Angelina has, and that is where our questions begin.
Jolie’s wealth enabled her to undergo a swift and successful double mastectomy through private medical healthcare to almost eliminate her chances of developing the life threatening disease and she’s determined to let women know they too have ‘choices’ when it comes to preventing future problems. She said:
“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.”
It’s a fabulously brave thing to do and positive use of her celebrity status, but we can’t help thinking that not all problems can be solved by throwing money at them – certainly when you have none to throw in the first place. This procedure would cost thousands of dollars in the US, so what does that mean for people without Angelina’s privileges?
A double mastectomy is of course available on the NHS but less swiftly and perhaps less smoothly than the way Angelina received hers. Since the mother of six released her dramatic New York Times confessional, it has emerged that 7 out of 10 women (in a YouGov poll) would copy her in similar circumstances, though many do not have access to the same level of exquisite healthcare.
The figures got us thinking – do these 7 out of 10 women understand the demands of the procedure? Would they blindly follow in the footsteps of a celebrity when it came to their own health, because it appears to have worked for them? Angelina’s story will shine a light on the the developing science of genetic diagnosis and DNA profiling, which is a fantastic thing. But will today’s celebrity obsessed public stop to consider the risks and their individual circumstances before letting Angelina’s decision affect their own?
We want to know your take on this issue. Has Angelina’s bravery made you feel more confident about an upcoming mastectomy? If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, has it made you more likely to consider the option? Did the story enlighten you about the procedure in general? Let us know in the comments box below.
Amy @ FashionBite xx
A woman with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer should see her doctor, who may refer her to one of the NHS’s 35 regional genetic testing centres around the UK.