Angelina Jolie was not the only one to choose a prophylactic mastectomy.
I did, too — but for different reasons.. (Thank you, Angelina, for making it public. You’ve given me the courage to write about it for the very first time).
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 25 years ago, the words “prophylactic mastectomy” were not commonly uttered. Breasts that were diseased were removed; otherwise healthy tissue was left intact.
Since then, a lot has transpired. Some (though not all) physicians advise women who have had cancer in one breast to have the opposite one removed, just to be “safe.” Many women choose to have prophylactic mastectomies on the opposite breast for psychological reasons: the anxiety that cancer will occur again (though not scientifically based in all cases) is so high to render them unable to deal with the heightened ongoing stress. And we all know what a huge health risk stress can be. The last thing a woman with cancer wants is any more health risks.