What Angelina Jolie and Michael Douglas have in common is that both are using their celebrity status to bring attention to the very realistic threat of cancer. For now, we must rely on celebrities to get the public's attention about important health threats. Both celebrities have provoked discussion, but where do we go from here?
I applaud Angelina Jolie for her bravery and willingness to share her experience with the public. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, six years ago, I was not aware of the extent of my family's history with the disease. I know how it feels to be there. And even if you're a movie star, those decisions remain the same.
Angelina Jolie has just gone public with the news that she had a preventative double mastectomy. As a BRCA1 gene mutation carrier, she had an 87% higher risk of breast cancer. In January, I also found out that I have the BRCA1 gene mutation. But for me, the test came late, after I had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that had already spread to my lymph nodes.