Melissa Etheridge, Angelina Jolie
While many lauded Angelina Jolie's decision to have a preventive double mastectomy, Melissa Etheridge feels the exact opposite.
Angelina Jolie reveals she underwent a double mastectomy
"I have that gene mutation too and it's not something I would believe in for myself," Etheridge, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, told The Washington Blade. "I wouldn't call it the brave choice. I actually think it's the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer."
Jolie, who lost her mother to ovarian cancer in 2007 and her aunt to breast cancer last month, underwent the procedure in February after discovering that she had inherited a "faulty" gene that put her at high risk of getting both diseases. But Etheridge, 52, said she thinks that cancer is caused by the overall health of one's body, not just genetics. "My belief is that cancer comes from inside you and so much of it has to do with the environment of your body," she said. "It's the stress that will turn that gene on or not."
The singer added that a preventive mastectomy is only one of many options that a person should consider before making an informed decision. "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. I've been cancer free for nine years now and looking back, I completely understand why I got cancer," Etheridge said.
Guiliana Rancic to undergo double mastectomy for breast cancer
In Jolie's defense, she made it clear that her decision was a personal one and she simply hoped that women will inform themselves on all the available options. "For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices," Jolie wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece. "I acknowledge that there are many wonderful holistic doctors working on alternatives to surgery."
What do you think of Etheridge's comments?