Angelina Jolie has today revealed that she has undergone a preventative double mastectomy to lower her chances of developing breast cancer in later life. Her mother died after a ten year battle with cancer aged just 56 and Jolie was advised her chances of also developing it were 87%. How frightening.
It must be such a devastating decision to make because while you will obviously do everything you can to prolong your life and time with your children; it is a huge, body altering procedure with a slow recovery and not something you could just decide to do off the cuff. I guess from Jolie's point of view, her chances of developing breast cancer were so high she felt she may as well remove her breasts now rather than later when it could be too late.
In this image conscious world we live in today we forget sometimes that we are all just human and that our bodies are a complex instrument, not just a sexual tool. Angelina Jolie is one of the most idolised and lusted over women in Hollywood which personifies that point perfectly.
It is fantastic to know that there is this procedure available should women have high chances of developing breast cancer and whats more, it is fantastic that strong women in the public eye are coming forward and saying that they too are having the procedure done and showing that family life and health is much more important than public image.
Liberty X star Michelle Heaton has previously spoke of her heartbreaking decision to have the same procedure in order to prolong her life with her family. She spoke on Daybreak this morning - after news broke about Angelina Jolie - saying when she looks in the mirror she is reminded of the positive thing she has done rather than focusing on the sad side to it.
Like Michelle also stated, I too think it is so important that public figures such as herself and Angelina Jolie talk about having this procedure so it will encourage other women who too may be at risk of developing breast cancer to weigh up their options. If such public women who are judged by their appearance and body image can have this operation then we can too. It is life saving; Jolie's chances of developing the disease have now reduced from 87% to below 5% - a huge difference! That put's her at less risk than the average woman who doesn't have a family history of the disease.
It isn't just breast cancer of course - there are many different tests out there to check if we are at risk like our relatives and procedures to prevent development. I have a friend who a couple of years ago went with her sisters for a check up as their eldest sister was now at the age their mum was when she first developed cancer. Having check ups - while sometimes slightly awkward or even embarrasing - are a great way to give yourself peace of mind or prepare for what could happen in the future.
A moments discomfort is surely worth it for that?