Angelina Jolie received high praise when she opened up publicly about her decision to have a double mastectomy. Jolie underwent the procedure after she found out she had the BRCA-1 gene and had an 87 percent chance of getting cancer. However, Melissa Etheridge, who also carries the gene doesn't believe the procedure was the best choice.
“I wouldn’t call [having a preventative mastectomy] a brave choice," Etheridge said. "I actually think it’s the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer.”
Etheridge goes on to say that “I have that gene mutation too, and [a preventative double mastectomy is] not something I would believe in for myself.”
For herself maybe no, but for Jolie, she felt it was the best decision for her family. Jolie lost her mother Marcheline Bertrand to ovarian cancer. Bertrand also battled breast cancer. Her grandmother died from ovarian cancer and recently her aunt died from breast cancer.
Still, Etheridge believes that there are other ways to prevent cancer.
“My belief is that cancer comes from inside you, and so much of it has to do with the environment of your body,” she claims. “It’s the stress that will turn that gene on or not. Plenty of people have the gene mutation and everything, but it never comes to cancer, so I would say to anybody faced with that, that choice is way down the line on the spectrum of what you can do and to really consider the advancements we’ve made in things like nutrition and stress levels.”
Etheridge says women should wait before making the decision to have a double mastectomy.
“I’ve been cancer free for nine years now," she said, “and looking back, I completely understand why I got cancer. There was so much acidity in everything. I really encourage people to go a lot longer and further before coming to that conclusion.”
Jolie will next undergo surgery to have her ovaries removed as she still has a 50 percent risk of developing ovarian cancer.