Yesterday, Angelina Jolie wrote a truly outstanding–and brave–Op-Ed in the NY Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/14/opinion/my-medical-choice.html?pagewanted=print. Generally, I scoff at most of what goes on in Hollywood. But, this column was a most articulate description of the step-by-step process that she went through in having a double mastectomy. Also, it was reported today that Ms. Jolie will be having her ovaries removed, assumedly in the near future. She had very high-risk for both cancers!
Ms. Jolie wrote that she went public with this news in the hope that other Women might become aware of the risk that they could be carrying around in their bodies. Equally, I would like to praise her Partner, Brad Pitt, who took an active role, and has been supportive, throughout the three-month process. That’s where I want to emphasize the importance of men to be pro-active, and supportive, in encouraging the Women in your Life (Wife, Daughter; Mom; Sister, etc.) to get screened, discuss the potential of a Family history and have further tests, if required. Men, you can get breast cancer too!
In the article, Angelina Jolie notes that the test for BRCA1 and BRCA2 can be expensive. The first place to start, in getting screened, is with your primary care provider, and your health insurance company, for coverage. If the cost is a concern, there are low-cost medical clinics or Planned Parenthood offices, which provide health care for low-incom Women, in many areas. And, check the Internet for options, too.
Another source of comfort might be from a series of columns written over the past year, or so, by Andrea Torres, an Editor for The Miami Herald. Ms. Torres had breast cancer, underwent removal and, hopefully, will find complete remission. She has written about her journey throughout the process. Her last column is linked, as follows: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/05/06/3383302/thank-you-to-those-whove-lifted.html