Target: Angelina Jolie, actress and activist
Goal: Thank Angelina Jolie for increasing breast cancer prevention awareness
Actress and activist Angelina Jolie recently had a preventive double mastectomy after learning that she has a gene that makes her far more susceptible to getting breast cancer. She went public about her surgery in hopes of encouraging other women to do the same. Thank her for her bravery and for promoting awareness.
According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year. A “faulty” gene, BRCA1, sharply increases the risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Jolie’s blood tests show that she has that gene and that because of it, she has an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. On average, those with the gene have a 65 percent risk of getting breast cancer.
A preventive double mastectomy drastically decreases the likelihood that an individual will get breast cancer. In a New York Times article, Jolie explains, “I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”
Jolie also used her status as an opportunity to create awareness about obstacles that women face when hoping to catch breast cancer before it becomes terminal. Though it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action, such testing can cost $3,000. Jolie commented that this type of testing needs to become more available and inexpensive so prevention can be more widespread and effective. Thank her for her bravery and for using her status in society to spread awareness.
Dear Angelina Jolie,
Your recent double mastectomy and public announcements to create awareness about breast cancer are inspiring. Almost half a million people die from breast cancer every year, and chances of contracting the cancer are drastically increased if testing and surgery are performed.
By going public with your health decision, you are setting a positive example for women and raising awareness. Many people do not know that they can be tested for dangerous breast cancer genes or that they can have preventive surgery. Thank you for raising awareness and setting a positive example for women.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Beao via Wikimedia