What's Best for Angelina May Not Be Best for You

Remember: health industry 'gets rich off fear': Mary Elizabeth Williams

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 14, 2013 1:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – There's no question that Angelina Jolie made a courageous move in undergoing a double mastectomy. But in the applause for her decision, it's important to keep the cancer conversation in context, writes Mary Elizabeth Williams—herself a cancer survivor—at Salon. "I can swear to you that every one of my friends and I would have done anything, anything to spare our children the loss of their mothers," she notes. "But I also want all of us to be skeptical, questioning, and profoundly active participants in our health and our healthcare choices."

"I want us to remember that all our tests and surgeries also serve an industry that is booming as it sells mammogram machines and bills for surgeries and reconstructions," Williams writes. "I want us to be able to see one woman’s intimate choice within the context of a culture that is laughably obsessed with breasts while it increasingly views all of us as pink-clad, potential breast cancer 'survivors.'" The health care industry can benefit from being frightening—and too many women are living in fear, Williams writes. So let's be sure that in the rush to prevent potential illness, we don't forget those already suffering from it. Click for Williams' full column.

Angelina Jolie looks to the media as she leaves a G8 Foreign Ministers meeting on sexual violence against women in London, Thursday, April, 11, 2013.
Angelina Jolie looks to the media as she leaves a G8 Foreign Ministers meeting on sexual violence against women in London, Thursday, April, 11, 2013.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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