Angelina Jolie’s Double Mastectomy

English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film fes...

English: Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


On Tuesday Angelina Jolie made headlines when she revealed in a New York Times opinion piece that she had a double mastectomy after discovering that she had a rare gene, the BRCA1 that increased her risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer.


According to Jolie, whose mother died of cancer at age 56 after a ten year battle with the disease, her risk factor of getting cancer before the surgery was 87% and after the surgery was reduced to less than 5%.  She wrote the op-ed piece to encourage other women to take the blood test to find out if they have this genetic mutation and then take action.  (Source:  NY Times:  My Medical Choice)


I think it was a brave choice she made to have the preventative surgery and then to write about it.

Breast cancer affects hundreds of thousands of people each year.  The blood test she took costs approximately $3,000 and it depends on your insurance if the test is covered or not.  This makes me angry.

If breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer runs in your family, why wouldn’t the insurance company pay for the blood test?  Wouldn’t it be better to do something preventative, like remove the risk, then allow cancer to occur, wrecking lives and increasing medical costs?

What are your thoughts on this?



2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.


14 responses to “Angelina Jolie’s Double Mastectomy

  1. I’d have the test in a heartbeat if it was prevalent in my family. I’d rather pay $3000 than go through chemo. That being said, I think that it should be covered by insurance companies. In the end it would end up keeping costs down, right?

  2. I still think it’s crazy with the difference in Healthcare Insurance companies on a global scale. I pay a pittance every week for my WHOLE family for anything health related and I’m covered. For everything. Probably one of the good things about New Zealand 🙂

    • My husband and I own a small business, so we pay for our own insurance. It’s expensive and I am on a different plan than the rest of my family due to pre-existing conditions. I just try to stay healthy.

  3. I think it’s a big decision, it’s a really scary situation, you can die on the operating table too. My brothers partner had something similar, and it really knocks you around for a while.

  4. I’m not sure how I feel about preventive surgery – it’s a bit of a drastic step to take. I think I’d choose otherwise, and just monitor carefully. That said, I’ve got a very young friend currently going through chemo for breast cancer, and it is heartbreaking to see her suffering. I hope she recovers and gets the all-clear soon.

    Like another blog commenter above, I’m in New Zealand, and medical care is all covered for everyone by the government, apart from a few oddities (like prescriptions are $5.50 for the first script, then repeats are free).

    Recently I underwent treatment for a disc bulge in my back, and although the emergency trip was free, the worst expense was the physio bills, which were $12 a visit. I’m glad I live here – everything chemo-related is 100% covered for everyone as far as I know, and all tests free.

    I can’t imagine having to cope with a system where people are too poor to get medical care – that’s awful 😦 It’s good that Jolie has the choice because she’s wealthy, but these big decisions on our welfare and wellbeing should be available to everyone, not just the wealthy. Just my 2c (for the record, I’m a conservative voter).

    • I’m a progressive Democrat and we are in agreement about medical care. I don’t think it’s right that personal wealth determines who lives or dies from preventable diseases. Thank you for sharing your opinion. I think I might take a flight to New Zealand next time I get sick!

      • Don’t get sick! We like the healthy and well you!

        But seriously, universal health care *should* be a standard for any wealthy country. If we can afford roads and schools, we should be able to afford medicine. Sick people (to take a purely utilitarian POV) are no use to anyone. Healthy people build and advance a society better than anything.

        Just sayin’ 🙂

  5. We have sorta free health care here, in Australia, but we still need to pay for specialists, and our health insurance is paid by the individual, not by the company you work for. I pay $100 a month for health care, and only get $27 back from a $50 visit to the chiropractor. Australian – one of the most expensive places to live on the planet.

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