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BN Hot Topic: Would You Remove That Body Part to Save Your Life?

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Last week, the news of Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy filled the media. Angelina is one actress who smokes up the screen with her sex appeal and when I heard she had the surgery my interest was piqued as to what would have motivated her to take such a drastic step.

She was reported to have had the surgery because she found that she had a mutation of the BRCA1 gene her double mastectomy was done in order to reduce her chances of having the disease. In her words: “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.”
It was an incredibly bold move and it was one I respected and admired even though a lot of people cracked jokes about how she had taken away Brad Pitt’s “play things”.

Someone said to me that he didn’t understand why she would take such a drastic step especially as something else could kill her. I responded that I actually understood where she was coming from. Fears and history can have a lasting effect on a person whether rational or not. For instance, I have a morbid fear of petrol generators because my brother died from an explosion of one of those things. No amount of telling me that diesel generators can kill me just as well will quell my fears. So I understand how history can affect logical reasoning.

With regards the “aesthetic” value of breasts, some comments online said that Angelina whittled down her sexuality. It raised the question of our bodies as sexual elements of our existence. I’ve heard stories of women who have undergone mastectomy on the road to recovery from breast cancer and they said one predominant question they get asked is “How’s your sex life without your boobs?”.

There was a show on TV where the guy fell down and his penis was very badly sore. When he got to the hospital, he was told that he had hurt himself and he would need to have surgery to either take off the shaft or go through a more rigorous process of draining blood from the organ. The latter option had no guarantees on whether he would be left with much erectile function. He and his wife decided to take the former to save his life.

What do you guys think? Would agree to slice off a body part as a pre-emptive measure to save your life? Or do you believe that something will still kill you so why not give yourself the best quality of life while it lasts. Do you believe that some body parts are too essential for you to ever consider taking off just in case?

Let’s discuss!

Photo Credit: dawnali.com

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

41 Comments

  1. sweetie

    May 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    To each their own, whatever feels right to you, do.

  2. Mo

    May 23, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I find her decision strange. Will she remove the ovaries too and force herself into menopause. Trust me menopausal sysmptoms are not funny. 87% vs 50% potato-potahto, tomato-tomahto. No matter how you look at it after breast feeding 3 babies this surgery has given her even better boobs make we no lie. Knowing the media whore that Angie is there’s a part of me that just feels that she didnt do this entirely for those reasons that she mentioned. Hey she would have got a fantastic boob job from this surgery and for once for a hollywood actress no one will takes jibes at it or laugh about it but feel sorry for her and praise her for her decison. This woman has a PR machine that would make governments blush, so I am waiting to hear if she will announce that she has removed her ovaries too before I believe the genuineness of her story. Thats just my opinion o

    • Partyrider

      May 23, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      Thankfully your opinion does not matter to Angelina Jolie and her household

    • sweetie

      May 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      Do you know what a BRCA gene mutation is? If you did, then you would understand where she is coming from.

    • Mo

      May 23, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      I know plenty about the BRCA gene. Pleeeeenty. A friend had a radical mastectomy, took out her ovaries and had her eggs frozen after her test results came out. So I’m sorry if I’m a little sceptical about Angie’s motives. What about the ovaries? Are they getting the chop off too? 50% risk is also very high. I cant help but wonder why the one that has aesthetic results was done first and more publicised. Considering she already has 6 kids. Hey thats just me based on knowing someone who had a strong family history, tested positive and was told to take the entire things out. So you were saying?

    • dede

      May 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      It’s old news that she plans to remove her ovaries as well. She actually announced that last 2 weeks.
      omg.yahoo.com/news/angelina-jolie-reportedly-remove-her-ovaries-just-barbara-210700036.html

    • Mad Mamma

      May 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Angelina Jolie is one out of sexed Americans struggling with hunger.

    • Geebabe

      May 23, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      I would hardly call AJ a media whore. Besides, the question is about what you would do , not what she has done.

    • asgrl

      May 23, 2013 at 4:45 pm

      Actually its well industry known fact that Angelina has no PR representation. Se did this on her own.

      In this life you can never make everyone happy. She did this for family, in particular those six kids of hers. Its okay if you don’t agree. I doubt she minds. 🙂

    • jk

      May 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      Angelina has no PR representation OMG, this is the first time I have laughed since yesterday afternoon after the Woolwich events. Oh my gosh, that was an eye watering laugh. Whoever you are @asgrl thanks. Your ignorance and naivety made me laugh and lifted my spirits. ROTFLMAO. She has one of the best PR’s in the business, they are just behind the scenes. EVERYONE knows that. How do you think she sailed through the whole Aniston fiasco and came out smelling like roses, especially as Jen was America’s sweetheart. LOL. I don’t entirely agree with Mo, but when you have seen Angie’s PR moves at work you can’t help but be sceptic at her reasons. Everything that woman does is for some form of publicity or the other. Don’t be deceived. Media whore just about sums it right but she is an old school media whore not like this new brand of faux celebs that we have now that are in your face making it know they are looking for attention. I am not an Aniston fan please. All dem Hollywood actresses are the same the same. For making me laugh today @asgrl you are the best. ROTFLAMO

    • Titi

      May 23, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Sorry Mo, but you really dont know plenty about BRAC gene as you claim. As a breast cancer survivor who underwent the BRAC 1 & 2 testing, there are really few other options for your sanity but a mastectomy if you test positive unless you are a true believer and trusting Almighty God, the great healer! The odds are highly stacked against you, Have you seen the stats?!!! Also, more often than not those who test positive also have their ovaries removed so I am sure she has that planned already. I insisted I wanted a lumpectomy but the Doctors said I had to wait and get the results of the BRAC test before they decide what surgery option they’ll strongly advise me on! To God be the glory, I tested negative. The doctors were very surprised because most people as young as I was with the disease are usually BRAC positive. I knew I had to do what I had to do if the results were positive. I had started making plans….. do you guys really think people would opt for a mastectomy if they had a choice? It is very painful and the recovery long. I had a lumpectomy which was so simple that i went home the same day.

    • sweetie

      May 23, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Titi , Thank you for sharing your story, I can’t even begin to imagine what you went through. It saddens me that a fellow woman like Mo would come on here and spew this sort of filth. The Insensitivity of the whole issue and ”whocares” talking about titi and bibi and ‘lol’ or whatever in addition to Mo’s Insensitivity is really distasteful. Cancer is NOT something to joke about .

    • Dlapikin

      May 23, 2013 at 5:46 pm

      Mo you have to be either very ignorant or very insensitive. As somebody who has polycystic ovarian syndrome, taking out my ovaries is something I think about all the time… I can’t wait to have all my children and take them out. The only thing that worries me is how I’m gonna cope with the hormonal changes afterworth. Masectomies are not as invasive hormonally as ovaries removal is. The only burden or should I say the main is the social stigma once you’ve accepted it mentally. It is a very difficult decision to make and when you have 8 children, it is a very selfless decision to take. You don’t gamble with your health when the odds are against you. Even if you have one, it is wreckless to sit and do nothing when you know death is starring at you. People who face those situations understand it oh so well, people who see them from outside like you, often don’t. Do yourself a favor, talk to those friends of yours and you will be surprized.

    • Dee

      May 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      You claim you know much about BRCA1 Gene but yet you sound SO ignorant … #justsaying#

    • Glam-a-fied

      May 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      I actually was diagnosed with breast cancer and if it wasn’t the fact that I am yet to have children, I too would have a double mastectomy and oophorectomy (take out the ovaries as you have a high chance of developing ovarian cancer too). Just because the chance of re-occurrence is high, you would do what you can to reduce those chances. Trust me, going through it once is bad enough. Going through it again? Unimaginable. Hence, cut off the boobs jare and let me know I wont have to go through it again. I’ll deal with menopause symptoms before I go through that again.

    • j

      May 25, 2013 at 10:54 am

      she is having her ovaries removed to00, dat was announced almost immediately … *rolling my eyes* … smh @ ur argument about attention… as if she needs anymore…. its her personal decision accept it as it is…….

  3. whocares

    May 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    oooooh this is good.. the article ie not the thought of cutting off a body part. my gods I hope it never comes to that, I am so attached to my material properties I name them (e.g my phone is called Sally..) its safe to assume that unless it came to it and nothing else could be done, my body parts remains.. so as a premptive measure? No way, not even with an 85 percent chance.. It takes a lot of balls to do that, and I dont have it.. id like to hold on to bibi and titi as long as I can thank you very much. lol.

    • Jo!

      May 24, 2013 at 9:55 am

      [email protected] bibi & Titi, babe, you actually name your boobs???? lmao

  4. lahips

    May 23, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    i do not know what to make of this news

  5. Enty

    May 23, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    My paternal grandma and her mother both had breast cancer. In fact my great grandma died from it. If I were told that I have 87% change of having cancer I too would have a mastectomy. I believe cancer is far worse than having HIV. I have known people who have struggled and died from cancer and others who won the battle. I also know people who have HIV and live healthy lives. Trust me when I say that if i were given the option of losing my boobs to prevent cancer I would chop them off. I also believe in the advancement of cosmetic surgery.

  6. Fun

    May 23, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    if i understand angelina jolie’s case, she had constructive surgery so it actually makes no difference to her sexuality or it might even enhance it cos she now has the chance to decide the shape and size she wants. back to the question, yes i can have such a surgery

    • Fun

      May 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      “reconstructive”

  7. eniola

    May 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    It’s not news that celebrities or even regular people do boob-jobs, so your thought of her reason not being totally what she claims it is, is not understandable. To the subject matter, i would. Especially since i have kids already has that would have been my only fear and thankfully she has a supportive beau, who i heard has placed a personal ban on himself not to act romantic scenes with other women.

  8. AW

    May 23, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    For those who think it is a gimmick, until you have walked the hard road of cancer or accompanied those who have, you can’t talk the TALK! Cancer is such a devastating illness that I am sure those who have not survived it would have given several parts of their bodies up just to have one more minute with their loved one. People die every day, but this illness beats you and batters you to the point of no return. What of those left behind? The utter hopelessness and devastation that you were powerless to help or take some of that pain away. I think angelina should be commended for refusing to give cancer the opportunity to make her kids motherless. She’s been through it, so she knows what it is. Like I said untill you walk the WALK you can’t talk the TALK!

  9. Titi

    May 23, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Very well said AW! Some people come on forums and talk carelessly about what they know nothing about! I am a breast cancer survivor! One year now since my diagnosis, it is not what I will wish on my enemy! every day is a gift, the reminders are there all around you and the thoughts and worries of a recurrence are never far from your mind! every pain or headache even though it may be unrelated gives you new fears…. trust me, If this is what it takes to have your peace of mind then do it! I would have done it without missing a heart beat if I had tested positive……it is not 100% proof that you wouldnt get it but it reduces the odds greatly. My advise to every woman is please please do your self checks and from 40years you should get an annual mammogram, I was blessed to pick up on the lump myself through a self examination. Exercise, exercise and exercise! Also eat healthy avoid alcohol and smoking and minimize the use of birth control pills! All theses raise your risks of getting breast or other gyneacological cancers. The cost of treatment is staggering (about $200,000 without health insurance) so, prevention is better! Most importantly, commit your ways to God and He who has promised, is able and willing……

  10. hayzey

    May 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    I’m a 20-year old guy, my maternal granddad died of prostate cancer, I saw what it did to him, I’ve been told I need to start getting regular check-ups at a certain age, and I can assure you that if I ever had the slightest belief that I could get it, I would have my prostate gland removed immediately. Of course that isn’t the same thing as losing your breasts, which are so deeply tied, aesthetically at least, to womanhood. But yes, I understand that someone wouldn’t hesitate to do such, particularly when they’ve seen the effects in family.

  11. Shane

    May 23, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Heres the thing. I found a lump in my breast 8 months ago. I had a fine needle biopsy done which showed the lump to be non cancerous. I then relaxed but the next time I saw my gynea she said I would have to take the lump out as a precautionary measure. I freaked out and after six months of persuasion by my husband, mother and 2 other doctors I went under the knife for a partial mastectomy. I am a month and a half post op but my life is back to normal albeit slight reduction in lifting etc. I did this not because I had cancer or even a possiblity of having cancer but as a precaution. Women in Nigeria please start educating yourselves, check yourselves for breast lumps, do regular cervical test etc. regularly. At the end of the day its about being alive and healthy.

  12. Ife

    May 23, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Only 1 % of the population carry the BRCA gene……a mastectomy and oophorectomy decreases BUT doesn’t eliminate the risk of getting both breast and ovarian cancer. Think twice before you go under the knife because that doesn’t guarantee you would not get these cancers.

    FYI: the best screening tool is both the self breast exam, and mammograms for women >40 years.

  13. oreka

    May 23, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I definitely wouldn’t mind doing the surgery cos my mum died of breast cancer. Watching her go tru so much pain hardened my heart and so I made up my mind that when I die it wouldn’t have anything to do with any form of cancer

  14. Tae

    May 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I would without a 2nd thought. My mother has stage 4 breast cancer and i know 1st hand that you will still lose the same breasts. My doctor has asked i and my sisters to head the test to see if we have the gene and i can assure you i would rather lose even half of my body than lose my life.

  15. Karonwi

    May 23, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I’d rather lose an organ than lose a life! Knowledge of such disease without taking precaution is deadly. I wouldn’t want to die of something I know I can prevent.

  16. Ready

    May 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I don’t know, Mo…she had already done the surgeries months before she announced it and noone had noticed a change in her boobs. I really do feel like announcing it was just an extension of her awareness persona. Your words make you seem like a conspiracy theorist who probably believes Beyonce really did fake her pregnancy despite seeing pictures, and that MJ didn’t have vitiligo. What I know for sure is many people were impacted by her announcement, and it opened up major issues like access to BRCA testing in countries like the US where healthcare isn’t available to all, and even worse in countries like ours. Those are more important issues, I believe.
    If I had the opportunity to do the masectomy and reconstruction like Angie did, I would take it. Better to reduce the possibility and live life with lesser worries.

    • anonymous 99

      May 25, 2013 at 12:27 am

      beyonce didnt carry that baby o.. see you dey dull

  17. brendz

    May 24, 2013 at 10:48 am

    When I heard about this, it scared the living daylights out of me. I don’t think its a publicity gimmick, but if it is…well she gave up her boobs so please allow her….now taking out the ovaries may actually shorten the quality of life she will live so i think she may not consider those immediately. I have never been affected by cancer, i don’t know anyone who has had it or how the sufferer feels, but I have compassion for anyone in pain and if you think, that’s the best course for you….please by all means go ahead…for me…I honestly don’t know what choices I will make but I will tell you this Angelina put that disease in perspective for me. I am going for a check up.

  18. Eve

    May 25, 2013 at 4:22 am

    I don’t even see how Angelina got into this conversation. I’m a healthcare practitioner, and I constantly work with people in this predicament, and see first hand how it affects their loved ones. A few of the comments here are just pure ignorance. Just pray this does not happen to you or your loved ones. She did what she did and I am proud of her! Calling her a media whore, and having an opinion over what goes on in her life is just sad. I am happy that she came out public with it as well, just to elevate the awareness. My prayers and best wishes go out to all cancer pts and survivors, their friends and loved ones. We will continue to stay strong and fight this battle!

  19. Observer...

    May 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Ahhhhh nigerian can sooo ignorant it hurts. This is why people are always ‘slumping’. Its only in nigeria (and 3rd world countries) that i have ever seen that as a cause if death. Even educated people that can afford to have this checks do not think it is important. The comments from this blog represents a cross section of educated nigerian women. People have written that they have either beaten cancer or loss someone to it and know the important of this preventive measure…but some people are still ignorant. We complain alllldayyyy about our government but we are so blind to the little things we can do to change our lives and our community. I can chat tilll my lips are swollen but its apparent that as rome wasnt built in a day, you cannot educate nigeria in a day. *sigh. Everyone is sitting around saying ‘it is well’ like God is going to send angel Michael to let you know everything u are about to fall ill and when his sprinkles his angelic dust, you will recieve your healing. Isokay.

    • zsa zsa

      May 27, 2013 at 7:24 am

      love ur comment, can’t add anything else.

  20. Observer...

    May 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Oops spelling mistake overload…. i know i’d be bashed all day for that BUT as long as u get the message, my work here is done 😉

  21. Temitope Adewoye

    May 29, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Now this is something @titi I would like to know at what age should a young lady in her 20s like me start doing these tests to be on the save side and can cancer be prevented?
    jeenager.com

    • Titi

      May 30, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      @ Temi, if you have a family history of cancer especially a close relative like a mother of sister then you may need to start having test early, if not just be vigilant by checking your breast regularly. You can take steps to minimize your chances of getting cancer such as exercising regularly, eat healthy, avoid alcohol and minimize use of birth control pills. By eating healthy I mean eat your vegetables and fruits, drink plenty of water. Use tumeric to cook! It is the main ingredient in curry powder but also sold as a spice on it’s own!! Most important thing is pray and stand on God’s word and declare that no sickness shall come near your dwelling!!

  22. Morenike

    July 8, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Recently lost someone to breastcancer and i can tewll you its no ‘lol’ matter. there is never anything trivial about cancer. my take is so long as you are not the sufferer and you are not in any position to make that kinda choice(s), puleeze dont presume to know.

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