Her medical choice

What she said went viral and evoked spontaneous responses because she was no other than Angelina Jolie! Who’s who, being in the limelight, is a subject of scrutiny. I beg to differ a little in this case. To me, though she is ‘the’ Angelina Jolie, ‘what’ is more important than ‘who’.  Her decision to undergo a double mastectomy (removing both breasts) to reduce the risk of breast cancer is certainly courageous as a woman and indeed inspiring as an Oscar winning actor.
More than undergoing a surgery, her conviction to go public about it through New York Times ‘Co-Oped’ page is praiseworthy. She could very much keep it a very personal thing and there couldn’t have been any debate. Yet she consciously decided to announce it. Her mother being a victim of cancer and Joile herself at high risk, she has seen the dreaded world of cancer from close quarters. That could be the reason perhaps, she wore her heart on her sleeves.
To quote her, “I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work. But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.”
Breast cancer is one of the biggest killers in the poor countries and in the Asian sub-continent. Especially in India, there is hardly any awareness. Ignorance cannot be always bliss, not at least in health matters. In spite of alarm bells ringing, not many women are aware or particular about regular health-check-ups. Many of them ignore even signals and pull on without medical help. Lesser said the better about poor-healthcare facilities in India. Nevertheless it’s not the topic here. Jolie’s decision will not only spread the awareness but more importantly, also save a number of lives by mentally strengthening women to take adequate preventive measures, if need be.
Jolie has also appreciated her partner Brad Pitt who was a pillar of strength and supported her all through. She has also appealed to all men who have wives and girlfriends that partners are very important part of such transition. Relentless support from a life-partner would help a woman stand strongly by her decision.  Not just husbands or live-in partners, all men in a woman’s life could play a positive role in very ‘womanly’ health concerns.
An aside, not just men but women also think breasts are an integral part of womanhood. Jolie’s candid confession of ‘not feeling any less of a woman’ should help them get over this notion. After all, beyond your strength, there can be nothing more important to make you feel more or less of a woman or a man.


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