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Old 06-19-2013, 09:42 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by krcit View Post
I agree with you. I like Melissa Etheridge also but I disagree with her on this.

Right now the American cancer Society is conducting their third comprehensive cancer prevention study. Perhaps after this study, which will go on for 20 years, is completed and the data is analyzed, we will have a better answer in regards to cancer and contributing factors. Until we have more information, we really should assume that lifestyle choices make differences where cancers are concerned. I agree that AJ has reduced her chances of breast cancer dramatically, but there is so much we do not know yet. I believe that ME is correct in her opinion that lifestyle choices do impact our body's ability to combat cancer, so a radical double mastectomy may not have been he only way to diminish the risk.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:00 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Nancyg56 View Post
I think that part of the issue is not that Angelina Jolie made the decision to have the mastectomy in response to the gene, but that in many outlets, that decision was praised as the "right" and "brave" decision. Right now, this treatment plan is pretty radical and not every Dr agrees that this is the best decision for every woman who carries the gene. Any surgery carries risk, and while this decision was right for her, it may not be the appropriate avenue for other women.

I don't have an opinion, not one way or another, because only AJ and her Drs know her entire health history, but how many people, after all of this coverage, think that this is the treatment plan that is appropriate for women with this gene? By questioning Melissa Etheridge about how she feels about the decision, the media actually depersonalizes the very singular decision that AJ made. What difference does it make what one breast cancer survivor thinks about another woman's treatment plan?

I think that while AJ made a decision that was right for her, there is so much we need to know about cancer and what contributing factors there are in any individual life before any outsider can even have an informed discussion about her choice. In this, Melissa Etheridge was correct, IMO. Women who are battling cancer are brave and courageous. A women who has not been diagnosed is certainly not making decisions based on what is but on what may be. I don't think that is wrong, but I cannot compare the former group of women with AJ.
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Originally Posted by lizabu View Post
I'm happy someone gave a different opinion on this procedure. For weeks all we've heard on TV is how brave Angelina is. What she did was pretty drastic (and painful). And it's not the only option. There have to be two sides to every coin. If my Mother died so young maybe I would have done it too. But as a celebrity people look to her as an example and its not the only option available.
I agree with both these posts. Well put. I have been bothered since this story came out about Angelina Jolie. As someone who has had a mastectomy and reconstruction, I can tell you first hand it is not easy and we don't all come out looking like Angelina Jolie! I feel like the presentation in the media has made it look a little too easy and I would hate to see any woman make a decision to go the route of a double mastectomy based on what she is seeing in the media. I also was tested for the BRAC gene (post diagnosis) and it luckily came back negative. If it had been positive I was advised I should opt for a double mastectomy. Let me just point out, surgeons make their money from doing surgery. Just because someone tests positive for the gene doesn't mean the cancer will develop anytime soon. There are advances being made every day on breast cancer treatments. By the time the cancer develops, there could be an outright cure or perhaps improved medications to manage the illness. I have a strong family history so my advice for someone who is at high risk is to faithfully do self exams and go for your mammogram. If and when cancer develops you can then opt for an appropriate course of action based on what is available at that time.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:07 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by happygirl View Post
June 18, 2013 at 8:06 AM ET
Etheridge told the Washington Blade that she wouldn't make the same decision for herself. Nor would she encourage others to do so without properly researching their options.

"I've been cancer-free for nine years now, and looking back, I completely understand why I got cancer," she added. "There was so much acidity in everything.
What the heck makes Etheridge think Jolie didn't properly research her options.

Also, now Etheridge is an expect on what causes cancer?

Perhaps being a mom with 6 kids and not wanting to risk having to deal with cancer treatment during their childhood was enough of a reason for Jolie.

Talk about kick someone when they're down. Etheridge should just mind her own business about something that doesn't concern her in the slightest way.

I'm not a Jolie fan but stuff like this just ticks me off.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:19 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Poohforyou View Post
What the heck makes Etheridge think Jolie didn't properly research her options.

Also, now Etheridge is an expect on what causes cancer?

Perhaps being a mom with 6 kids and not wanting to risk having to deal with cancer treatment during their childhood was enough of a reason for Jolie.

Talk about kick someone when they're down. Etheridge should just mind her own business about something that doesn't concern her in the slightest way.

I'm not a Jolie fan but stuff like this just ticks me off.
She didn't mean Angelina didn't do her research on her options, she was saying all women should research their options before choosing a treatment or procedure, which is the exact same thing Angelina said: ""For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options," Jolie wrote. "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."
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:22 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Poohforyou View Post
What the heck makes Etheridge think Jolie didn't properly research her options.

Also, now Etheridge is an expect on what causes cancer?

Perhaps being a mom with 6 kids and not wanting to risk having to deal with cancer treatment during their childhood was enough of a reason for Jolie.

Talk about kick someone when they're down. Etheridge should just mind her own business about something that doesn't concern her in the slightest way.

I'm not a Jolie fan but stuff like this just ticks me off.
She didn't say Jolie didn't research her options. She said she wouldn't encourage others to do so without properly researching their options.

That's true isn't it? Everyone should properly research their options.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:25 AM   #21
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Stressors come in a lot of ways. There is no question that stressors play a role in whether someone who is prone to cancer (and other diseases) actually gets cancer (or other diseases) or not.

But I think that people sometimes mistake "stressors" for "lifestyle choices" (which, of course, can be included in stressors, but they aren't the whole story). Stressors that play a role in disease start from the time we're young and accumultate throughout our lifetimes. It is this "stress load" that can put us over the edge toward disease, according to Dr. Herbert Benson, the father of Mind/Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School. ((I've taken his Mind/Body course and it is fascinating.)

I am a breast cancer survivor (and health professional), and what I learned about it (from Dr. Susan Love, one of the world's authorities on breast cancer) is that, when cancer is found, those cells started mutating years before - as many as 8 years before. Also, that many of us have cancer cells floating around our bodies, but that our own immune systems identify and eliminate these unhealthy cells - if our immune systems are working properly. Therefore it is helpful to maintain a healthy immune system. And naturally, one does that from living a healthy lifestyle. However, stressors from earlier in our lives still play a part, since it is lifetime stress load that can push us over the edge. Some of these earlier stressors can't be helped - such as a stressful family situation, an early death, abuse, neglect, illness, etc. Additionally, as healthy a lifestyle as we may live, we all still have stress. We still experience job stress, family stress, financial worries, deaths of loved ones, moving, health scares, and any number of other stressors, regularly as we live our daily lives.

I know a guy who likes to talk about how "healthy" he is. He exercises, eats right, is in good physical shape, etc. But I have to chuckle a bit because he is truly one of the most Type A/uptight people I know. Always internally stressed. Got news for you, folks, that's as unhealthy as anything else!Family history also plays a HUGE part in disease proliferation.

So I do understand what Melissa Etheridge is saying. But personally, I disagree with her. Preventing breast cancer is huge, and IF (and it's a big if) your risks identify you as someone who's likely to get it, I wholeheartedly support taking the same measures that AJ did. Why? Because treatment of it does not compare to never having it. Once you have invasive breast cancer, there is a chance that it traveled to distant organs before you found it, and it can resurface again as a metastasis (which is what you die from with cancer). I did not have a mother who died of bc, nor did I have reason to be gene tested, etc. But if I did, knowing what I know now, I would absolutely do preventative surgery.

In the end, it IS a personal choice, and people need to do what they are comfortable with. I don't think individual choices should be criticized.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:35 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Allison View Post
She didn't say Jolie didn't research her options. She said she wouldn't encourage others to do so without properly researching their options.

That's true isn't it? Everyone should properly research their options.
IMO she implied it with her comments. There was no point to her comments other than to put another woman down for her choices.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:46 AM   #23
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I disagree with Melissa Etheridge. I'd like to see statistics showing that diet and stress reduction would have brought down Ms. Jolie's breast cancer risk down to (or anywhere near) the 5% her preventative mastectomy has done ... or any numbers backed by medical science - otherwise she should't call Angelina's choice 'way down the line' of what a woman should do. And, I would still call going through that a brave choice. Still like Melissa Etheridge though!
I don't really have an opinion on what Jolie did, but I don't think I'd take medical advice from a singer as it relates to what causes cancer - even a type that singer personally survived.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:50 AM   #24
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I'm personally glad that Melissa spoke up. I think that another perspective is important.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:57 AM   #25
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IMO she implied it with her comments. There was no point to her comments other than to put another woman down for her choices.
Different interpretations I guess.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:07 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by lizabu View Post
I'm happy someone gave a different opinion on this procedure. For weeks all we've heard on TV is how brave Angelina is. What she did was pretty drastic (and painful). And it's not the only option. There have to be two sides to every coin. If my Mother died so young maybe I would have done it too. But as a celebrity people look to her as an example and its not the only option available.
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have one of the most aggressive Public Relations staffs in existence. If we weren't hearing about the removal of her ****s, then we'd be stuck with hearing about her dresses or her next soul searching trip to wherever, or her views on eating peas and carrots. To me it all just comes out as blah blah blah blah blah.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:10 AM   #27
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I don't have a problem with Melissa Etheridge stating that a double mastectomy may not be the best way to prevent cancer, or that she feels diet and mental state have an impact. there are a million different opinions in the breast cancer community about what does or doesn't cause cancer, whether diet can be preventive, whether natural treatments work or don't. Right now there is no definitive proof, so we are all entitled to make what decision we think is best and not bash those who choose otherwise.

What I disagree with is her calling the decision to have a preventive double mastectomy "fearful." EVERYONE who is either given a high probability of developing cancer or who is actually diagnosed is fearful. If you say you aren't, you're lying. When I was diagnosed, my first thought was "cut them off." My doctors explained that it really wouldn't make a difference in survival or recurrence rate IN MY CASE, so we went with lumpectomy, chemo and radiation instead. Had the prognosis been different, I would have been in surgery asap.

I have many survivor friends who have had reconstructive surgery. It can be painful and drawn out, and is fraught with possibilities for failure - erupted expanders, breaking skin, failed tissue transfers, infection, and so on. I would never call the decision to go though that ordeal fearful.

Angelina Jolie made what she thought was the best decision for her and her family. Melissa Etheridge made what she thought was the best decision for her and her family. End of story. I see too many issues becoming divisive - breast vs. bottle, SAHM vs. working mom. We don't need to add this one to the list.

(off soapbox now......)
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:20 AM   #28
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If you've never been kept awake, night after night, knowing that monster is inside you, then it's hard to understand the fear. Its not something you can put into rational terms. It's like when that car swerves in front of yours on an icy road, and you know that there's not a thing in the world you can do to protect yourself. Only it's not over in an instant; it's not over until they get the moster out. And treat you with radiation, just in case it jumped the chest wall. And until you have an annual check, to ensure that your self exams have caught any remnant of the monster close enough to the surface to be caught. You pray that, if it's in there, it's close enough to catch.

And, as a mom, it's even worse. My fear wasn't so much that my life would be cut short, but that my kids would grow up without a mom.

My annual mamo/sonogram on my remaining breast is Friday. Let's just say I'm at the part of the week where I'm not going to sleep well for the next few days. The last time they found a lump, I mentioned to my doctor that, if it kept happening, we were going to talk about another mastectomy.

A preventative mastectomy isn't the right answer for everyone, or even for everyone who can afford it. And multiple medical opinions are always a good idea. For me, at least up until this point, it hasn't been the right choice. I'll let you know after Friday if it remains my choice for the next year.

But anyone who has been touched by this disease and doesn't have the good sense to be "fearful" is an idiot. Of COURSE AJ is fearful. I'm hoping that Ms. Etheridge has the good sense to be fearful as well, particularly if she carries the Brach1 gene.

But doing what you can, at no risk or expense to anyone else, to ensure that your kids grow up with a parent is not cowardly. And I think Ms. Etheridge should have chosen her words more carefully.

Also, for what it's worth, neither my mastectomy nor the reconstruction surgeries were painful in the least. The closest thing to "painful" was the one time they put the IV into my hand and not my arm. I've had stubbed toes that hurt more. If anyone reading this is facing a mastectomy, know that it doesn't necessarily have to be a nightmare. For me, it was the END of the nightmare.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:22 AM   #29
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I'm happy someone gave a different opinion on this procedure. For weeks all we've heard on TV is how brave Angelina is. What she did was pretty drastic (and painful). And it's not the only option. There have to be two sides to every coin. If my Mother died so young maybe I would have done it too. But as a celebrity people look to her as an example and its not the only option available.
Look to her as an example of what ? Of course what Jolie did isn't the only option and a person would have to be living under a rock to think it was.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:33 AM   #30
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IMO she implied it with her comments. There was no point to her comments other than to put another woman down for her choices.
I didn't get that at all. What I got from it was that ME acknowledged it was a personal decision that AJ made, but if YOU are in the same position, research it extensively and don't just run out and get it done because some beautiful celebrity with the best doctors in the world got it done and it worked for her.
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