No matter what you might think about Angelina Jolie, her decision to have a preventive bilateral mastectomy and then talk about that decision in a public forum should be applauded.
But she’s not the first. There are more and more women making similar decisions as medicine continues to advance and as we’re better able to assess our risks and options when it comes to life-threatening diseases, like cancer. The only difference is that these women don’t have the star-power and name recognition that helps get the subject in the news and on people’s minds. These women are our neighbors, our friends, our family members.
Speaking as a parent, I think most of us would do whatever it takes to live as long as possible. To see our kids grow and succeed and have their own wonderful lives as adults. To be there for them, as a parent wants to be. Angelina’s decision, like those made by so many others, took this into account. And even though the focus here may be on breast cancer, there are plenty of dads who have battled other diseases and forms of cancer and also made decisions based on giving them as much time here on Earth as possible — for the same reasons.
Of course there’s the other side to the argument. People who believe a decision like Angelina’s is made prematurely based on information that may or may not be reliable and based on a disease that behaves differently in different people. Nothing is a guarantee.
But at least the decisions lie in our own hands — as difficult as that may be.