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  • Virginia Waters
    May 16, 2013 - 10:16

    'If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out' - I have never liked Mathew 5:29. To me it reeks more of the harshness of Mohammed than the compassion of Jesus. I have always assumed that even in the New Testament, the people writing it down in short-hand probably made a few mistakes. I don't condemn Jolie's decision. It is a highly personal one and her's alone to make. But I do worry that the manner of its presentation to the world carries with it a risk that others will be persuaded inappropriately, unnecessarily to follow in her footsteps. I'm not sure the coverage made sufficiently clear that her circumstance - the BRCA1 genetic mutation - is quite rare. It occurs mostly in women of European Jewish descent. The mutation accounts for only 5% to 10% of all breast cancers in women. That said, the risks for those women with the mutation are quite real and measurable. Women generally have an 84% chance of living to age 70 or more, whereas those with the mutation have only a 53% chance. Surgery isn't a complete guarantee against the disease, and there are alternative measures that can lower the risks. It is hard to know what you would do in her place until you are in her place. The question is whether preventative surgery has any real role in preventative health. What is clear is that we need to accelerate the development of genetic engineering solutions to problems of this nature.

  • David L. Russell
    May 15, 2013 - 12:24

    It's difficult to imagine anyone undertaking these procedures for the sake of publicity. Let's give Angelina a break on this.