- With breast cancer affecting so many women in the US, there are still many people who haven't heard of the BCRA gene, which is commonly known as a "faulty gene" that predicts an 87% chance of acquiring breast cancer and a 50% chance of getting ovarian cancer. Angelina Jolie, 37 had undergone a double mastectomy, which brought national attention and a higher awareness to the BCRA gene and the hope of a possible step towards breast cancer prevention. Jolie inherited the defective gene from her mom who died of breast cancer at the age of 56. Jolie made the brave decision to get a double mastectomy to drastically reduce the 87% odds of her getting breast cancer; her action gives other women hope, encouragement and confidence to take that step and help to eliminate the stigma of feeling less than a woman or other issues women face when they lose their breast. It demonstrate to women that it is OK to do it when they see a successful, popular and beautiful movie star that opted to lose not just one, but two breasts knowing that “looks and appearance” matters in her business. Is this BCRA gene testing hope for early cancer prevention?
- The BCRA gene testing is not cheap and may not be covered by your insurance.
In contrast to Jolie’s loss of her breast giving women hope and encouragement, some of the PSA ads are sending out mixed messages, which can have the opposite effect that Jolie had on women. The ultimate goal for PSA’s are to raise awareness and gain funds for research and a cure, however the ads don’t appear to be focused on saving a life, but more so on not losing the voluptuous, beautiful & sexy breast. When woman who already feels inadequate and unattractive because she lost a breast; seeing some of the ads out there will certainly add to the insecurities. So, Instead of focusing on saving the breast, keep the focus on preserving a life.
- What Happens After a MastectomyBreast cancer can be shocking & life-changing to women and their family. Women sometimes have the burden of choosing to remove the cancerous breast or removing both the cancerous & health breast in order to extend the survival rate, either way no one wants to have to make that decision. What happens after the surgery? Well, to start there are several support groups out there. According to Dr. Lloyd Hoffman, "over 80,000 women in the US undergo mastectomy each year" however, there is not much mention of reconstructive surgery. All hope is not gone, reconstructive surgery is another option for women after a mastectomy. The surgery is covered under most HMO's for women who undergo a mastectomy. For those who are unable or simply can't afford reconstructive surgery, there is a third option which has become another popular trend that accompanies the mastectomy, and that is the chest tattoo, which can also be referred to as a functional tattoo. The tattoo is used to cover the scars and create combination of beautiful colors that adorns the scarred chest.
- The chest tattoo
- Regardless of the BCRA gene, breast reconstructive surgery or tattoos to hide the scars; the best prevention is early detection and if you can't afford the BCRA gene test, you still have a chance of early detection by doing regular monthly self exams and your annual mammograms. Amy Robach from Good Morning America finally decided look that fear in the face and get her first mammogram at the age of 40, after putting off for so long. Robach's mammogram was performed live on air, and to her surprise Robach's test determined that she had breast cancer, had she put off another year there's no telling what her prognosis would be. So, remember early detection can save your life.