Angelina Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy has sparked a national debate on breast and ovarian cancer treatment
While every woman must make the personal decision about what course of treatment is right for her, some doctors caution that all the publicity surrounding Jolie's choice may lead to some of us having unnecessary tests and procedures.
I am humbled and empowered by your many emails, tweets, phone calls and postings of support.
My goal was just to let you know I would be gone and why, yet we have started a powerful dialogue that is providing me with so much courage and joy.
My commitment to you is to keep you informed of everything I learn and to continue the dialogue here.
I will be telling more stories and whenever possible posting a little extra something here. Again, many thanks.
– Zoraida Sambolin
If you would like to tell your story about breast cancer, go to CNN.com/iReport and join the conversation.
Dr. Monica Morrow is the chief of Breast Services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and she is on 'Starting Point' talking with CNN's Zoraida Sambolin about different treatment options woman with breast cancer have.
She also weighs in on the BRCA1 genetic tests, and options women have if they test have a BRCA1 genetic mutation.
Dr. Morrow says that while we are talking a lot about the BRCA gene, 'most women do not have BRCA,' this gene mutation is found in a small percentage of women. She stresses that knowledge is power, and that women, who have been diagnosed with cancer or the BRCA gene should gather as much information from their doctors as possible. She stresses that all women faced with these decisions need answers to the following three questions: 'what are your options? What does each option involve, and what are the outcomes?'
Allyn Rose was Miss Washington D.C, and she is on 'Starting Point' talking with Zoraida Sambolin about her decision to have a preventive double mastectomy after losing her mother to breast cancer. At only 24-years-old her announcement was shocking to many in the pageant community.
At first Rose was hesitant to get the surgery, however after losing her mother, grandmother and great aunt Rose's father encouraged her to consider the procedure. Rose was diagnosed with a rare chromosomal disease that may predispose her to breast cancer. She thought having a preventive double mastectomy was 'radical,' but after doing research she decided it was a ‘good decision’ for her given her strong hereditary link to breast cancer and chromosomal abnormality. She made the decision because she realized she did not want to ‘run the risk of this happening to her.’
CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin discusses her recent breast cancer diagnosis and her decision to have a double mastectomy.
CNN's Elizabeth Cohen weighs in on Angelina Jolie's revelation about her double mastectomy. She explains the health risks behind having an abnormal mutation to the BRCA1 gene, which can increase a women's risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
In her op-ed piece Angelina Jolie writes, "I carry a 'faulty' gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. 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."
Given this diagnosis Jolie, "decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy."
Pediatric cancer patient Jack Hoffman and dad Andy on Jack's 69-yard touchdown & their work to raise money for research.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force made waves in 2009 when they recommended that, instead of annual mammograms starting at age 40, women wait until age 50 and only get checked every other year. Now, the panel has sparked controversy again by recommending that most men shouldn't receive routine PSA tests for prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in the U.S. for men, second only to lung cancer. However, the panel found that a substantial number of men are receiving unnecessary cancer treatments, as their disease is so slow-growing that it's not life threatening.
According to the panel, out of every 1000 men who are tested for prostate cancer and receive resulting treatment, one will develop a blood clot in his legs or lungs, two will have heart attacks, up to 40 will be left impotent or with urinary disorders, and only one man will avoid death.
Medical director of the Urological Research Foundation Dr. William Catalona is an outspoken opponent of the panel's recommendations who also helped create the PSA test.
On Starting Point this morning, Dr. Catalona describes the recommendation as "misguided" and "unjustified," saying that although the test is not perfect, he believes that doctors can work through the problems to identify when a patient has aggressive cancer "in almost every instance."
"If we were to stop PSA testing over the next decade or two, the prostate cancer death rate would double or triple," Dr. Catalona says.