Yes, we are back on Angelina Jolie and the comments made by Melissa Etheridge stating that the choice made by AJ was not a brave choice.
This is exactly what ME said in her interview with Washington Blade:
"I have to say I feel a little differently. I have that gene mutation too and it’s not something I would believe in for myself. I wouldn’t call it the brave choice. I actually think it’s the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer. My belief is that cancer comes from inside you and so much of it has to do with the environment of your body. It’s the stress that will turn that gene on or not. 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. I really encourage people to go a lot longer and further before coming to that conclusion."
Yes, that statement created a media uproar that I missed. Apparently Brad Pitt made a comment and I have NO idea who else jumped in to the fray. The follow up comment made by Melissa Etheridge says the following:
"I don't have any opinion of what she 'should have' done. All are free to choose. I only objected to the term 'brave' describing it," Etheridge said in a statement to ABC News.
That's the end of the war of words. And here are my observations (did you seriously think I would not express an opinion??). This has nothing to do with AJ's choice or ME's opinion. It has to do solely with the statement that is in print for all to see. My objection isn't over bravery or fear (although I do fall on the bravery side of that equation if you are interested). I'm not going to comment about whether or not that initial statement confers an opinion on the part of ME (all I'm sayin' is read it carefully and you decide).
Let's be clear. Melissa Etheridge is a musician. Angelina Jolie is an actress. Fans tend to hang on to their words. As a responsible advocate who understands the importance of evidence based medicine not opinions or things that seem likely, I am going to address the comment.
- "My belief is that cancer comes from inside you and so much of it has to do with the environment of your body" (Yes, I agree-tumor microenvironment or as Dr. Love says, "the neighborhood")
- "It’s the stress that will turn that gene on or not." (ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE not matter how much you may think this is the case, there is no evidence to support such a statement although the importance of reducing stress can not be understated for plenty of reasons. Activating a mutated BRCA gene to turn on is NOT one of them.)
- "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" (GROSS MISREPRESENTATION of the very real risks associated with a BRCA mutated gene. The risk in the general population is 1 in 8 at age 70. BRCA mutated patients? 6 in 10 [and earlier onset?]. In other words, the risk is five times greater in patients with BRCA mutations.)
- "and to really consider the advancements we’ve made in things like nutrition and stress levels." (Stress, previously discussed. Nutrition? This is sounding like the blame game. There is NOTHING we can do to eliminate risk through nutrition or by avoiding potential environmental factors that may be within our control, like for example, moving far from a city where the air is less polluted. These measures will only reduce the risk by a very small percentage. I have many things swirling in my head regarding numbers so I'm going on the high side. I think we are in control of perhaps 30% of our cancer risk across ALL cancers through behavior modifications. The rest? A crap shoot. And not with such great odds if you happen to have a mutated gene. And medical advances, treatment options, chances of metastases... not much has changed in decades.)
- "I’ve been cancer free for nine years now and looking back, I completely understand why I got cancer." (Really???? Did she REALLY SAY THAT???? Yes, she did. I'm fairly certain her understanding would be appreciated by the thousands of researchers who have yet to crack that code.)
- "I really encourage people to go a lot longer and further before coming to that conclusion." (No. What you should be doing is encouraging people to do their homework and make the choice that is right for them. This sounds like she may not be telling AJ what she should have done as she states in her rebuttal comment, but she IS telling the rest of us what she thinks WE should do.)