We all got a big shock after hearing the news that Angelina Jolie had undergone a double mastectomy earlier this year.

I take my hat off to her for being brave enough to not only take control of a life threatening situation, but also share her experience with the world.

I have to admit that I don’t know if I would have been woman enough to do either of those two things.

Both my grandparents on my father’s side died of cancer. My father has been living with lymphoma since I was 10 years old. My mother has had a lumpectomy done on both her breasts. Obviously cancer runs in the family.

I have not exactly helped the situation in terms of being careful and avoiding things that might lead to cancer. I have been a social smoker for the past 10 years and regularly drink more than my daily allowance of alcohol. The only thing I can pat myself on the back for is giving up processed foods and trying to at least eat healthily.

With all this in mind, I don’t know if I would have the guts to get myself tested. I think this is perhaps the one circumstance where the unknown is less scary than the facts. And yes, I know, it is a completely irrational fear, because it does make sense to rather know and handle the situation than to live in a state of blissful ignorance.

The really terrifying bit, however, is making a decision about whether to keep your breasts or have them removed. Looking down at mine now I can only imagine how traumatising it must be to be faced with such a choice.

My breasts may not be the biggest in the world, but they’re mine. The two little handfuls of boob I have been blessed with have been with me through so much I can’t imagine having them replaced with silicone implants.

One thing I would remind myself about in such a situation is that a life is more valuable than a set of breasts. If it did become necessary for me to decide between saving my life and keeping my breasts, I would choose to forsake them.

Angelina Jolie deserves a standing ovation for sharing what she’s been through. She not only brought a very important matter to our attention, but also provided us with the perfect role model for when we find ourselves in her shoes.

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