Not all mushrooms are poisonous
Today Angelina Jolie told the world that she had a preventive double mastectomy. It turns out she has a certain mutation of the BRCA1 (BReast CAncer) gene that caused her doctors to say that she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. Hence the preventive removal of her breasts.
First, thank goodness she did not touch those incredible lips.
Second, I have good reason to believe that Pearlsky has a mutation of her BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 gene as well. Seriously. So, am I in a position to approve a preventive double mastectomy for her? If Ms. Jolie (I have utmost respect for her for her non-Hollywood work, it feels right to refer to her that way) can make this decision for herself, why can I not make it for Pearlsky? Ms. Jolie has yet to do any surgical intervention for her increased risk of ovarian cancer since that risk is lower than her breast cancer risk, and the surgery is “more complex.” But if Pearlsky has such a risk, why not do that surgery as well? It would probably help with her seemingly painful PMS. If we test for the gene, and it is mutated, then is it ok to do this surgery?
It may not be growth attenuation, but how far is the jump from performing self-mutilation for prevention of cancer that may or may not occur, and performing mutilation on your child for the same reason? And then you go from the reason being the possibility of cancer to being the possibility of not being cared for easily?
Third, I’m a tush guy, I’ll enjoy her movies just as much.
Do not get me wrong. She made a very well informed decision, decided what was best for her, and did it. Her NY Times op-ed is very well written, thought out, and makes a very strong argument. I say the more power to her.
Why the title of this post? If you know that I sort of speak Russian … let’s just say that I confuse груди and грибы so the only time I say either one is in a restaurant when I order the chicken breasts with mushrooms.
I was dreading the Angelina jokes, and of course would find them, first, here. Oy.
As for your question, I have no answer. It’s one of those things that I leave to finer minds. Impossible.
I cannot imagine that if P. tested positive for said mutation, that surgical intervention upon your request would not be easily forthcoming. That is a medical situation with significant stats behind it where the surgery will indeed change the stats toward positive for your daughter. GA has no such science behind it. It’s a smorgasbord of subjective thoughts and feelings…presented as fact, but indeed devoid of any…about how a disabled person’s life “might” be enhanced as a result. The fact is, all of the so called “problems” of being disabled would be mitigated by proper social supports. Do you think Ms Jolie would have had surgery if she knew that a change in societal attitudes were all that she needed to protect her future? I suspect she and her also-famous significant other would have used their considerable clout to change the prevailing world view.
Wow as soon as you mentioned making the decision for Pearlsky my mind went to the whole GA thing. However as Claire mentions, I do see a difference in a life threatening medical situation vs. subjective “convenience” or “quality of life”. I saw my wife go through chemo and radiation treatments for breast cancer, as well as the double mastectomy surgery, and if the need for those treatments can be prevented by surgery up front, then I believe it would be worth it.
However, I go back and re-read your post and see the slippery slope of first breast cancer, then ovarian cancer, next…? Where does it/should it stop? And if you do nothing then you risk said chemo and radiation treatments and surgery anyway. Or maybe she won’t even get cancer, or you could do other treatments like preventative medications, or…or…or. I guess there are no easy answers. The fact that Ms. Jolie did it will probably make it more acceptable, and I certainly respect her for being so honest about it.
There is a big difference between avoiding the inconvenience of sexual characteristics and avoiding the inconvenience of extreme pain, sickness, and early death. If Pearlsky does have the mutation (and if you think she does, you might as well get her tested now so that you have some time to consider options) the recommendation of whether or not to get a prophylactic mastectomy or hysterectomy would be coming from a team of doctors (and maybe a second team of doctors since two opinions can be better than one), not from you alone.
It passes the basic two tests. The first is, would a woman Pearlsky’s age, in posession of all the facts and able to weigh up her options, choose this intervention? The second is, of the options available to manage if she DOES have the mutation, is there another that gives her as good a chance of living a long and comfortable life?