My Medical Choice – – Angelina Jolie – The Most Beautiful Woman In The World


MY MOTHER fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.

We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.

Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.

Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.

On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved. During that time I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work.

But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.

via My Medical Choice –

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  1. May 14, 2013

    Praiseworthy, indeed.

    • May 14, 2013

      In this town – AMAZING.

  2. George Kaplan
    May 14, 2013

    Oh Vickie, Ms Jolie is so *courageous*. That is heart-breaking but inspiring, and I think typical of the strength of many women. My opinion of her (an actress, a person, I admit to never having taken much interest in) has volted to impossible heights, not that that matters. She is shaming in her personal strength and spiritual beauty. Thank you for posting this, Ms Lester.

    • May 14, 2013

      I couldn’t have said it better, thank you Mr. Kaplan.

  3. May 14, 2013

    Yes, the most beautiful…in so many ways.

    • May 14, 2013

      Fiercely and bravely beautiful – and understands the obligations and power of fame.

      • May 14, 2013

        Yes, reminds me of someone else who was once the most beautiful woman in the world……

  4. May 14, 2013

    Ms Lester, I am reading …. listening …. to your voice, thanks for sharing your thought.

    • May 14, 2013

      Thank you, Ms. Jolie is so admirable.

  5. May 14, 2013

    I am filled with awe. I am not a fan. But for a sex symbol to do this and tell other women that their lives are more important than their boobs is a wonderful, wonderful thing. I may even forgive her for taking Brad away from me.

    • May 14, 2013

      This is an extraordinary decision – and even more profoundly she’s speaking about it publicly – awesome, indeed. Sorry about Brad 🙁

      • May 14, 2013

        Me too. (Not really. He is too scraggly these days.)

  6. May 14, 2013

    So very, very brave. Thank you so much for passing on the word, Vickie. Absolutely blown away…

    • May 14, 2013

      I think it says a lot that she speaks for the soul – beyond beauty – I too am blown away.

  7. May 14, 2013

    Great bravery and dignity.
    Both scarce commodities these days and as such to be much prized.

  8. May 14, 2013

    … and indeed praised.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • May 14, 2013

      Dignity and foresight and willingness to help others through her own actions – gorgeous.

      • May 14, 2013

        Dearest V
        Yes, gorgeous is the most apposite word.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  9. May 14, 2013

    To be honest, I’ve always liked her. She seems strong in so many ways — and beautiful, no question. I think being a mother has softened her edges, she’s been tempered. This choice, and her desire to make it public, is very admirable.
    Great post, V. 🙂

    • May 15, 2013

      She made quite a journey, from troubled youth to conscientious adult and role model. I can’t praise her enough.

  10. May 14, 2013

    Two weekends ago, I met and had a conversation with an elderly woman who had self-published a memoir. She was a holocaust survivor. The Russians had sent her and her parents from the Warsaw ghetto to Siberia before the German invasion of Poland, thus inadvertently saving their lives, though those lives were difficult in the extreme during the war years. This woman said, “America is a wonderful country, but…I think perhaps we don’t like to speak of difficult things, or death here.” I told her I thought she was exactly right.

    What an courageous thing Ms. Jolie has done, to speak the truth about something all women fear but our popular culture would rather sweep under the rug.

    • May 15, 2013

      It’s very much “just direct your feet, to the sunny side of the street” in our culture – all the more reason to be amazed by Ms. Jolie’s candor.

  11. May 19, 2013

    I cannot imagine what it would take to face and make such a decision. I almost wept when I heard this news. I hope this helps all the other, unsung women, who have had to made a similar choice.

    • May 20, 2013

      I was stunned – and impressed by her strength and desire to help other women. The word “commendable” comes to mind…

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