Is Prophylactic Mastectomy a Universal Key to Breast Cancer Prevention?
UCSB Feminist Studies Scholar Laury Oaks Addresses the Issue
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) Some people call them 'previvors', individuals who survive a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, by taking dramatic preemptive measures to avoid it in the first place.
And we're not talking diet and exercise.
Actress Angelina Jolie is the most recent example. When she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation and learned her odds of developing breast cancer could be an astronomical 87 percent, she decided to minimize the risk as much as possible by undergoing a double mastectomy. No breasts, no breast cancer. That's the idea.
But as Laury Oaks, an associate professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara, notes, preventive measures that are effective and appropriate for one woman might not be so for another. And even if they are appropriate, they aren't necessarily available.
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