Angelina, BRCA and Breast Reconstruction

Let’s put aside the fact that Angelina Jolie is a movie star, rich and had access to all the best medical care – she is still a woman and mother making a difficult decision about her health. Of course she is now an easy target for everyone to make comments on whether her announcement was a good thing or a bad thing. Everyone has a different opinion and that is what makes life interesting. Personally, even though I am always up for pointing out celebrity PR schemes, I think that what she did was brave and obviously the best decision for her and her family. Take away all the layers of who she is and look at her as a woman who lost her mother to cancer, is a mother of 6 and wants to be around for her children for as long as she can. We can all relate to that in some way and see the humanity in it. She made a personal decision for her body, her health and her family.

BRCA and Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer

I think her article created a great platform for discussion.  The information she included will help spread awareness for two other aspects  of breast cancer treatment, the BRCA genes as well as the option of breast reconstruction. There are still many people who are not aware of the BRCA 1 and 2 genes and  hearing about it in the news might actually get a few more people looking at their family history or talking to their doctor about any questions they might have.

If you want to find out more about BRCA check out these resources:

Willow Breast Cancer Support Canada – In Our Genes program – http://www.inourgenes.ca/ioghome

Force – http://www.facingourrisk.org/

Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Foundation – http://www.hboc.ca/3/miscellaneous1.htm

Princess Margaret Hospital Familial Breast and Ovarian Clinic – click here

Breast Reconstruction

As someone who is in the middle of  the breast reconstruction process  I can honestly say that it is not an easy decision to make or an easy procedure to go through. However  the results are pretty great and if it is the right decision for you it can give you  back the boobs you lost to cancer. They don’t look or feel the same, but they will stay perky for decades! A friend of mine who has also had reconstruction thought it was funny that we now have boobs like Angelina Jolie! ha!

Angelina talked about being back to normal in a few weeks, which is great for her, however the difference between her story and most other women going through  breast reconstruction is that she did not have cancer first and did not go through one or two years of aggressive treatment before her surgery. If you are thinking about reconstruction keep in mind that depending on the type of reconstruction you choose and what your medical history is there are several procedures and quite a bit of recovery time to plan for. I had to also do extensive physiotherapy after my surgery to regain full mobility in my arm and shoulder – but for me it will all be worth it. It really is a personal decision and everyone is different.

Here are some good resources for more information on breast reconstruction:

Breast Reconstruction.org –  http://www.breastreconstruction.org/index.htm

Canadian Collaboration on Breast Reconstruction – http://www.breastreconstructioncanada.ca/

If you know of anyone who is interested in finding out more about BRCA or breast reconstruction feel free to forward these link along to them.

And of course if  you have any thoughts you want to share about Angelina’s announcement  please join us in the comment section below.