Why Angelina Jolie’s Breasts Slightly Irritate Me

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  • Guyanesesista

    I like your take on this. It will be swept under the rug if people don’t actually act. It’s a shame Myriad Genetics would hold on to something so life saving as a patent to that breast cancer gene test. Holding on to the monopoly is waaayyyyyyyy better than saving lives aye?

  • Alexis Dickerson

    Angelina’s Op-Ed was infuriating to me because it represents regressive, rather than progressive understanding of cancer. Based on epigenetics, we know that the breast cancer gene is heritable, but non-genetic factors are equally important, if not more important, in whether that gene will “turn on” or continue to be suppressed. ( 10 Minute Primer on Epigenetics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp1bZEUgqVI )

    Cancer is not a local issue. It doesn’t just “happen”, it is the cumulative effect of a host of factors, some genetic, some environmental, some dietary/lifestyle. Your body deals with all sort of toxins and genetic malfunctions everyday, but it can reach a threshold. When it can’t process the toxins efficiently anymore, you may get a local cancer. This is where you see some of the genetic connection play in. Your body may be wired to “send it to the breast”, and your mom may have been too. In addition, you and your mother likely shared:
    1.) food habits (mom teaches you how to cook, what to cook, what and where to buy and eat),
    2.) environmental exposures (living together, using the same products, drinking the same muni water),
    3.) lifestyle (active or sendentary, drugs/alcohol) etc.

    So, in light of that, you can chop off your breasts, (the genetic factor), or you can change your diet (organic, essential vitamins and minerals, light on carbs, no processed shit) and environmental factors (drinking water, chemicals in your household, work environment, body care products, etc) and stress management (exercise, yoga, meditation, playing with pets, low stress job, etc). However, saying you have an 87% chance of getting the cancer may be “technically true”, but it completely conflates the fact that 87% is a cumulative result of ENVIRONMENT+DIET+GENES+STRESS. I don’t know how much each plays in, but what if genes were only responsible for half? Would you still chop off your breasts if your chance of getting cancer was 43%? That’s a coin toss. What if it was 27%? You’ve just moved from “brave and logical” to “crazy”.

    Next, and equally important, I mentioned before that cancer is NOT A LOCAL ISSUE. It is a manifestation of imbalance in your body (system). In no other system would you just remove the site of the problem and expect the system to continue to perform optimally. If you have crime in a neighborhood, arresting the criminals does not improve the neighborhood. You have to address the cause of the criminality, or you will just get new criminals. If your body reaches it’s toxic threshold, and you removed the breasts, your body CAN and WILL send it elsewhere (Hello Ovaries), because you haven’t fixed the problem. We have a medical system that encourages us to attack symptoms, not causes. If you have a headache, you will be told to take Advil. Advil will reduce inflammation, and make your head feel better, but do nothing to actually correct what caused the headache (maybe dehydration). In the meantime, you are still dehydrated…

    Preventative medicine is NOT cutting off healthy tissue, and replacing it with artificial breasts. (I can only imagine the that body has a stress/foreign body reaction to implants, but that’s an aside). It is NOT having elective surgery every 10 years (you have to get your boobs redone every 10 years, for safety reasons), risking your life and health each time. Our bodies can and DO fight cancer, as well as everything else we throw at it. No one can mitigate risk 100%, even the healthiest people will get sick of something or other, but this false choice between a “ticking time bomb in your chest” and double mastectomies is really, really tragic.

  • Alexis Dickerson

    In case you thought I was pulling that out of thin air, read for yourself what the National Cancer Institute says about BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutations…

    “It is important to note, however, that most research related to BRCA1 and BRCA2 has been done on large families with many individuals affected by cancer. Estimates of breast and ovarian cancer risk associated with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations have been calculated from studies of these families. Because family members share a proportion of their genes and, often, their environment, it is possible that the large number of cancer cases seen in these families may be due in part to other genetic or environmental factors. Therefore, risk estimates that are based on families with many affected members may not accurately reflect the levels of risk for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers in the general population. In addition, no data are available from long-term studies of the general population comparing cancer risk in women who have harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations with women who do not have such mutations. Therefore, the percentages given above are estimates that may change as more data become available.”

    BOOM!

  • Daren Jackson

    The issue here is not what Angelina did, but what Angelina didn’t do. She has this huge platform to be able to reach so many people and educate them on an issue that is so important (and has personally effected her life), but she only takes it as an opportunity to talk about herself. She could have provided real information or help for people, but she didn’t. And for some reason, everyone is hailing her as a “hero”. Good for her.