Angelina Jolie has revealed that she has undergone a preventive double mastectomy as she found that she had the mutation in BRCA gene and had a statistical 87% risk of developing breast cancer. Her mother had died because of breast cancer. Angelina Jolie took this step as she felt it was the best thing for her to do in order to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer and live a longer life to be there to support her children.
I respect Angelina Jolie’s decision to tackle her risk of developing cancer by undergoing a preventive mastectomy with subsequent reconstruction. It is her personal decision and she has obviously taken it after much thought. However, I feel that such surgical removal of breasts based only on a statistical probability, however high that probability may be, would not be the right option for all women who are in a similar situation. I feel that given the celebrity status of Angelina Jolie, this news about her undergoing such an operation may only cause an increase in the number of women wanting to undergo such an operation, which is not a healthy trend.
The presence of a mutated BRCA gene in a woman does not necessarily mean that she will definitely develop breast cancer in her lifetime. There are many causes for cancer. The causes are not only genetic mutations; they can also include lifestyle, environment, diet and several other factors. A woman can still live a healthy life and need not develop cancer even though she has been found to have a mutated BRCA gene which causes an increased risk of developing cancer. In fact, each and every human being on earth has a risk of developing cancer right from the time of being an embryo in the mother’s womb, and this risk remains throughout their entire life. A mutated gene only increases the risk of developing cancer and does not necessarily mean that the person will develop cancer.
A double mastectomy based only on a statistical chance that a woman can develop breast cancer is a very radical decision. Even if a woman does undergo a double mastectomy, it does not mean that she is 100% safe and will not get breast cancer. There is always the possibility that some breast tissue has not been removed during this procedure and cancer can develop in that residual tissue.
There are metaphysical meanings for all organs of the body even for the penis and prostate of a male. Louise Hay has given the same metaphysical meaning for breast in her book “Heal your body”. From a metaphysical point of view, the breast represents mothering, love and nurturing. Metaphysics simply means “beyond physics” it is the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value. The metaphysical meaning of an organ or part of the body is not necessarily the same as the use or function of that part.
Breast cancer is due to resentment or guilt associated with issues of mothering, love and nurturing. Self-love and carrying out one’s tasks with love will help in reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. If a woman has such issues of resentment or guilt with regard to nurturing or helping others, it would help her to find out what is causing these issues and address them. The woman should see if she is able to give others the help that they may ask of her. If she feels that she is capable of doing so, then it would be good for her if she did do it with a sense of love for the person whom she is helping rather than out of a sense of obligation or resentment. It is not just feeling anger or guilt, it is the repeated pattern over a period of time and the suppression of these emotions that predisposes to cancer.
I do not mean that a person should not experience feelings of guilt or resentment at all. I understand that these are part of a normal daily life pattern even in motherhood or parenting. I only mean that if the woman has such a pattern throughout her life and these emotions are continuously repressed in the body, then she is more likely to develop such cancer. It is the repressed emotions of guilt and resentment over a period of time that leads to cancer. Our society unfortunately does not encourage people to express their emotions. It is the repressed emotions in the body over a long period of time that leads to diseases like cancer.
A better approach for a woman who finds out that she has a statistically significant increased risk of developing breast cancer due to the presence of a mutated BRCA gene would be
- Practice self-love- Love and accept herself as she is
- Carry out whatever tasks she does with love
- Practice meditation and relaxation techniques
- Modify the diet and lifestyle
- Regular breast self-examination and check-ups with a physician
In the end, I would like to state that my aim of putting up this article is only in public health interest. I respect all the women of the world. I only want to inform them that it is not necessary for them to undergo such a radical operation just because of the statistical risk of developing breast cancer. There are other options to look at. I am just suggesting some measures that they can take.