Doctor Warns: Angelina Jolie Not An Example For 99% Of Women

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“The majority of women … are at average risk for breast cancer,” Dr. H. Gilbert Welch writes in an op-ed for CNN. “They are not Angelina Jolie. They should not have a preventative mastectomy.”

jolie, angelina jolie, mastectomy, doctor, op-edAngelina Jolie made a good life decision which she announced via viral New York Times op-ed to get a double mastectomy. She was widely praised (hey society, we've achieved the point of praising a beautiful woman for having her breasts removed. For this, you get an unironic thumbs up), but doctors have felt the need to step in and qualify Jolie's remarks.


“The majority of women … are at average risk for breast cancer,” Dr. H. Gilbert Welch writes in an op-ed for CNN. “They are not Angelina Jolie. They should not have a preventative mastectomy.” Welch said that Jolie's op-ed, read by millions, was missing a crucial note:

"Then I realized something was missing in her piece; something that should have been printed in big black letters:

NOTE: This story is not relevant to more than 99% of American women."

"Relevant" seems a little harsh (how much of what we consume meets this standard of relevance?). Welch means that Jolie's decision shouldn't inform the decisions of 99% of women, because the genetic condition Jolie has that makes her highly susceptible to breast cancer is very rare.

Hopefully people who found Jolie's mastectomy an honorable thing to do will be inspired to choose health over beauty, and not let vanity get in the way of good decisions. Dr. Welch just wants you to know that for 99% of women, that doesn't mean getting a double mastectomy.

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