What Does Angelina Have to Do with Breast Cancer Surgeries For Men?

tamh - hw - angelina jolie + male breast cancer surgeryWhen Angelina Jolie found out that she carried a gene that increased her risk of developing breast cancer–the same disease that killed her mother–he did something that shocked a lot of people: she had a double mastectomy, removing both breasts, neither of which was affected by cancer. For most women, the decision to have that kind of surgery is a private one, kept between the patient, her doctors, and her family. But Angelina Jolie isn’t “most women” and she went public, doing interviews, writing op-eds, and openly discussing what she did and why. The result was what many have called the “Angelina Effect:” dramatic increases in the number of women getting genetically tested for breast cancer as well as in the number of surgeries. Interestingly, women weren’t the only ones affected by the Angelina Effect. The number of men having preventive mastectomies has skyrocketed, too.

We all know that breast cancer is a devastating disease, one that kills thousands of women each year. Efforts to increase awareness and to find a cure are everywhere, from public service announcements and postage stamps with pink ribbons to walkathons and NFL players wearing pink shoes. But what most people don’t know is that one percent of breast cancers occur in men. And besides having to endure the stigma of having a “women’s disease,” men with breast cancer typically have worse outcomes than women. As a result, more and more men are making the decision to remove both breasts–even if only one has a tumor.

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Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.
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