Elective Surgery or Leave it to Nature?

Last week, actress Angelina Jolie announced that she had undergone an elective surgery to remove parts of her reproductive system based on tests suggesting she was at a higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer due to a family history of cancer and recent blood tests that showed she had inherited a gene, BRCA1, that puts her at a higher risk for developing cancer.

Johns Hopkins experts caution that not ever woman who tests positive for this or similar genes that would increase their risk of developing cancer to undergo elective surgery. The Baltimore Sun quoted Johns Hopkins oncologist Kala Visvanathan, who said that such this kind of surgery not only prevents her from bearing any more children, but also sends her into menopause earlier, losing hormones that normally protect against cardiovascular disease, bone loss and cognitive changes.

While Jolie encourages others to "choose what's right for you," the decision is a tough one.

If you found out that you had a gene that puts you at higher risk for developing cancer, would you undergo elective surgery to eliminate cancer in a particular area of the body, or would you let nature run its course? Cast your vote and share your thoughts in today's poll.

What would you do?

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Lynne Raker March 31, 2015 at 3:02 am

I would opt for the surgery. I am a DES baby and this has presented itself with it's own problems. If I knew that I was at a higher risk for certain cancers, I would do everything in my power not to get them, even if it means surgery.

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Lynne Raker March 30, 2015 at 7:59 pm

I would go ahead and do the surgery. I do know that insurance is a factor for most people. I would have all the documentation necessary and try to get it done. I not only have the family history, but I am a DES baby. Being from a medical background family, (doctors & nurses), my decision would not be as difficult for me. Some people would need help with making the decision(s).

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Cathy Carini March 30, 2015 at 9:59 am

I would opt for the surgery (now) but only if I could afford it. That is not usually something insurance will pay for. Angelina does not have that problem.

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C March 30, 2015 at 9:17 am

The problem with leaving it to nature is that ovarian cancer is almost invariably detected when it's far too late to do anything meaningful. Besides, an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure and the cost structure follows that as well. Medicine should be focused on prevention, not treatment. Nevertheless, I think each affected person should decide for themselves what to do.

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