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 User
Posted May 14, 2013 1:15 PM CDT
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)

(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.

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Showing 3 of 17 comments
May 16, 2013 6:23 PM CDT
I wonder if Brad will go back to Jennifer now.
May 15, 2013 6:41 PM CDT
Angelina felt this was the right decision for her.It is her body and her choice to make for Herself. I do feel she should of said in her statement this may not be the right decision for you to do. Some people look up to her and follow her. Check out all your options that is what I think Mary Elizabeth is trying to say to other woman. Cancer is an ugly, cruel disease, and I understand how hard it is to deal with this disease. It has been almost three years since my sister died from breast cancer.
May 15, 2013 1:15 PM CDT
I urge everyone considering this to be careful. While the ability to know could be reassuring - whether or not you choose to proceed to mastectomy, I don't believe the impact of finding the BRCA gene has been fully explored from an insurance perspective. It may be decided...or at least pushed back on...that documentation saying you possess a gene that will in all probability lead to cancer could be viewed by insurance as a pre-existing condition. And pre-existing conditions can lead to limited, expensive, or denied insurance coverage.