Doctors have told Angelina Jolie, the movie actress married to Brad Pitt, that she has an 87% chance of becoming afflicted with breast cancer. Her decision, when confronted with this tragic possibility, was to undergo a process where both of her breasts would be surgically removed and she would then get implant reconstruction. Because of the breast removal, Jolie was informed that her chance of getting breast cancer was reduced to a mere 5%. So according to one perspective, the decision she made was logical and according to many people following the story, downright brave.
However, you can also look at it from another perspective and it is within the context that doctors will do absolutely anything to enhance their profits—at the expense of an individual patient’s health. This blog has shown a bias against doctors before. I personally have diabetes. I do not trust my doctor who tells me I need to go on insulin, Metformin, etc. Doctors can legitimately be called pill pushers, and although they might have good intentions, the profit motive cannot be dismissed lightly. They get money, after all, when they prescribe certain drugs, and of course, they benefit financially from having patients go into surgery, as Jolie has chosen voluntarily to do.
This article that I am referencing goes into detail about why they think Jolie is making the wrong decision. The author of the article states that we all have cancerous cells in our body, but that they can be overcome through lifestyle (just as diabetes can!), nutrition choices, avoidance of radiation (microwaves!), etc. Several foods substantially reduce the risk of cancer, according to this article, foods such as raw citrus, resveratrol (red grapes or red wine), raw cruciferous vegetables, omega 3 oils, etc. I3C is a pill (capsule) that also substantially reduces the chance of becoming afflicted with cancer. Of course, natural remedies or partially natural remedies have also come in for a significant amount of criticism. One interesting thing, though, about this article is that Jolie is quoted as telling her children that she has now given them the gift of not having to worry about her developing cancer. However, there is still a 5 percent chance. So it’s not like she has a guarantee of no cancer.
A final note about the topic of breast cancer: Olivia Newton-John, one of my favourite performers, developed breast cancer in 1992. Over 20 years later, she is in remission (although she prefers to say she is thriving and has completely beaten the cancer forever) through a combination of Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, meditation, etc. (including, yes, traditional remedies such as chemotherapy).
I don’t know that I agree with Jolie’s stance, because I tend to believe in the natural over the surgical, in most cases, but I do have to admire her bravery. A woman’s beauty is tied in our society partly to her breasts and almost completely to her physical appearance. Jolie is rich enough to afford implants, it is true, and it’s also certain that a woman’s breasts or lack thereof do not dictate her femalehood; however, especially since Jolie is a movie actress in one of the most superficial industries in the world, she has a lot to lose because of her decision from the point of view of image. She is making a decision that takes into account how her children will feel. However, there is one more point that I would like to make. I hope that before she made her decision, she consulted Brad Pitt, her husband, and included him in the decision-making process. In our society today, men’s rights are often sacrificed at the altar of women’s rights. I have no idea if Jolie included Pitt in the decision or not, but if she did, then I acknowledge the legitimacy of that, because I agree that her body belongs to her husband, just as it belongs to her. This situation is fascinating, because it brings into sharp focus the issue of a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. Do you think Jolie is brave or foolish?