Wow. Jolie is a beautiful woman who makes a living as an actress, where looks can be important, and she discovered that she carried an allele of BRCA1 that puts her at a very high risk of coming down with breast cancer sometime in her life. She looked at her situation rationally — she is an atheist after all — and made the decision to get a preventive double mastectomy. She chose to maximize her chances of living a long life over preserving a secondary sexual characteristics.
That’s strong and smart. She hasn’t lost anything of any importance.
Jolie also took an important next step and came forward with the news to encourage other women to make good choices.
I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.
Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.
The only glitch in this story is that this is America: if you’re not a mega-millionaire movie star, you’re not likely to be able to afford the expensive genetic testing, or the extensive surgeries. But maybe Jolie’s openness will encourage politicians to correct that, too.