In a recent interview with the Washington Blade, breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge called Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy “the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer.”
While many hailed Jolie’s decision as brave, Etheridge said she thinks cancer is something that comes from within and is determined by the general health of your body, not genetics alone. “Plenty of people have the gene mutation and everything but it never comes to cancer so I would say to anybody faced with that, that choice is way down the line on the spectrum of what you can do and to really consider the advancements we’ve made in things like nutrition and stress levels. I’ve been cancer-free for nine years now and looking back, I completely understand why I got cancer. There was so much acidity in everything.”
She said she would encourage anyone facing the same choice to wait it out before a mastectomy. “I really encourage people to go a lot longer and further before coming to that conclusion.”
Jolie’s decision has been lauded as “absolutely heroic” by fiancé Brad Pitt and “courageous” by Sheryl Crow — another vicim of breast cancer. In her New York Times op-ed, Jolie wrote that her decision was a difficult one, but ultimately the preventative measure proved to be the best option for her.
“On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman,” she wrote in the piece. “I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”