Oscar-winning film star Angelina Jolie revealed that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy after discovering that she has a mutated version of the BRCA1 gene that made it extremely likely she would get breast cancer.
Jolie and partner to Brad Pitt made the announcement in the form of an op-ed she authored for Tuesday’s New York Times under the headline, “My Medical Choice.” She wrote that she finished three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts as a preventive measure.
Breast Cancer Awareness Campaigners believe that Angelina Jolie’s openness would help raise crucial awareness of genetic breast cancer risk.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is a malignant growth that begins in the tissues of the breast. Breast cancer mostly common in women, but it can also originate in men.
There is however no exact cause of breast cancer, but myths in this case is more widespread than the real cause.
Causes of Breast Cancer
Age: Age plays an important role in determining the chance of getting breast cancer – chances of contracting the disease increases with age.
Genetic Inheritance: Family history like that of mother, sister or daughter been diagnosed with breast cancer further increases the risk.
Early menses or menopause: Early start onset of menses and/or early menopause can also be a reason associated with breast cancer.
What is Double Mastectomy?
Mastectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely. Mastectomy is usually done to treat breast cancer.
Types of Mastectomy
The type of mastectomy a person undergoes depends on each individual case and on factors such as size, location and behaviour of the tumour.
Nipple-sparing mastectomy: It involves surgical removal of breast tissue.
Skin-sparing mastectomy: This process involves removal of the entire breast except for the breast skin.
A simple mastectomy: It involves removal of the entire breast tissue, but the axillary contents are undisturbed.
Modified radical mastectomy: In this process, the entire breast tissue is removed along with the axillary contents.
Radical mastectomy: It is also known as halsted mastectomy. This procedure involves removing the entire breast, the axillary lymph nodes and the pectoralis major and minor muscles behind the breast.
Extended Radical Mastectomy: Radical mastectomy with intrapleural en bloc resection of internal mammary lymph node by sternal splitting.
A double mastectomy reduces a mutation-carrier’s risk by about 90 percent to a level lower than that of women who don’t carry the genetic flaw. But it but can never eliminate the danger entirely.
Mostly women with breast cancer go in for plastic surgery. A breast implant is a medical prosthesis used to augment, reconstruct, or create the physical form of breasts. Previously doctors used to shape new breasts by taking fat from a patient`s stomach, upper back, buttock or thigh, but now the procedure has been made safer and more comfortable.
Surgery is often combined with other treatments such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or monoclonal antibody therapy.
Compilation by: Shruti Saxena