You may have seen the story in the headlines a while ago that Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy even though she was perfectly healthy. She wanted to get a jump on cancer before it had a chance to get to her.
This is hardly the first time that a woman has undergone this surgery. It has actually become a trend of sorts. Sometimes women will have what is called a contralateral prophylactic mastectomy which is when they have a healthy [email protected] removed because they have been diagnosed with cancer in the other one. Women were asked why they took the healthy one when there was no cancer in it and they responded that they wanted to lower the risk of getting cancer in the other one.
The interesting thing about this is that women who have [email protected] cancer on one side have a very low chance of getting it on the other side unless they have the BRCA-1 gene which is a hereditary gene that increases the risk of getting [email protected] cancer. The chance is only 2-4% in the five years of life after treatment on the other [email protected] Having the surgery also does not increase the chances of survival which is another reason that women felt it was necessary to do it.
A doctor from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute says that the reason that women don’t look at the statistics that they know about their survival rates could be due to anxiety from already having cancer once. This can cloud their judgment and cause them to make quick decisions. They are also undereducated because all of the necessary information is not given to them when they are diagnosed the first time. While the surgery is not a bad thing for all women, there are far more who have an unnecessary surgery because they have not been educated properly.