Women with breast cancer who are active on social media make a vital contribution to our public dialogue.
So, when I read Angelina Jolie’s New York Times opinion piece, “My Medical Choice,” about her decision to have bilateral prophylactic mastectomy after breast cancer gene testing, I turned to some of the women I follow through Twitter or blogs. Some examples and excerpts:
Lisa Bonchek Adams on Twitter: “I do pause at the ‘holistic alternatives’ to surgery Jolie mentions. This makes me nervous….My main wish (not sure can say criticism) is that she had educated on how her process VERY diff from if cancer had been detected…That is, she did great job saying what she did but some might not understand how very diff that is from friend with cancer having mastectomy….I always think it’s impt to explain what you did and how it varies from what people might be commonly familiar with…Women who’ve made same choice as Jolie will get lots of media attn now. How about those of us with metastatic disease? Not happy ending.”
Jody Schoger on Twitter: “Agree – I wouldn’t be going holistic with BRCA1 mutation….Angelina Jolie defined her decisions for double in context of the BRCA 1/2 mutation. Most BC is sporadic, no known mutation….My breast cancer recently metastasized after a 15-year interval. There’s still so much science & medicine can’t explain, prevent, or treat.”
Dr. Elaine Schattner on her Medical Lessons blog: “Don’t Judge Her! An Essay on Angelina Jolie, BRCA, Cancer Risk and Informed Decision-Making.”
This short piece focuses on the story of one patient’s (thus far) successful treatment for a particularly aggressive cancer. It does a nice job with this limited material, but taking a broader look at the evidence would’ve yielded a stronger, more useful story.
The claims made by one of the authors of a very small, short-term study — that vitamin D “made the cancer better” — deserved a more thorough analysis than this story provided. But the bottom line message was accurate.