NY Times LTE

My comments on Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy decision published in the NY Times May, 2013.


Angelina Jolie’s Decision: More Perspectives
Published: May 15, 2013

To the Editor:

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Re “My Medical Choice,” by Angelina Jolie (Op-Ed, May 14):

When tests revealed that Ms. Jolie had a mutated BRCA1 gene, which significantly increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, she chose removal of her healthy breasts with a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. After this brave procedure, there’s still a small risk of breast cancer.

Women have other options. The National Cancer Institute facts on BRCA risk indicate that mammography, magnetic resonance imaging and clinical breast exams enhance the possibility of early detection and treatment.

In the last 50 years, the medical literature has demonstrated that early breast cancer treatment with combinations of lumpectomy, radiation and chemotherapy yield the same healthy survival rates as mastectomy. As always, the final decision is between a woman and her physician.


San Francisco, May 14, 2013

The writer is a retired consultant for the Breast Cancer Fund.

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