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Preventive mastectomy - who should get final say?

It's kind of a duh question, in reality, the owner of the breasts SHOULD get final say, but they don't always. This is news today because it happens to be a celeb who had it done, but it brings up the question - should a doctor be allowed to refuse the surgery without being able to prove a legitimate risk (ie other health conditions that make surgery more risky than normal)?

My Medical Choice By ANGELINA JOLIE

Article is simply her describing her experience and reasons in pretty basic terms, nothing too technical or preachy.

Answer Question

Asked by NotPanicking at 8:30 AM on May. 14, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 51 (421,174 Credits)
Answers (8)
  • How about if we change it from removing the breasts to removing any part of the body. Should a person be able to have the say in that. I'd say yes, I think.

    Answer by Bmat at 8:43 AM on May. 14, 2013

  • I saw this in the news this morning! it is a bit drastic but it makes sense to me, and yes they should have a say on what to do here......

    Answer by older at 8:59 AM on May. 14, 2013

  • I didn't know she did it for health reasons. i thought she did it to make some kind of statement that only in her head made sense.
    I think if it's to prevent a disease/disorder, hell yes they have very right to but if it's just for the hell of it I think maybe they should get their head examined because no one in their right mind would get rid of a perfectly good body part for no good reason.

    Answer by LostSoul88 at 8:59 AM on May. 14, 2013

  • I think it depends. I think if I, a perfectly healthy, seemingly sane person, walk into a doctor's office and say I want to have my hand surgically removed, with no valid reason - no, I probably shouldn't get the final say. If I want to have my hand removed just to have my hand removed, that doesn't sound all that stable and I should probably have that doctor referring me for a mental health evaluation. But in the case of this celeb, where you know you're at a pretty high risk of a potentially fatal disease and you want to take a drastic step that could very well prevent you ever facing that disease, then, yes you should get the final say. I mean, if you've done your research and you truly feel this is your best option, then you should be able to make that decision.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 9:02 AM on May. 14, 2013

  • Yeah, it should be up to the person who owns the boobs, but hey they can tell us when we can and can't get our uterus taken out so why not tell us if we can get rid of our boobs too?!

    Answer by kmath at 9:03 AM on May. 14, 2013

  • I think in her case with the genetic issue she has and her increased risk of breast cancer are all very legitimate reasons for her to be able to opt for a surgery like this. As for the Dr., I would think they would have some responsibility in deciding if they could do the surgery as well. If a Dr. isn't comfortable performing a surgery then they should have the right to refuse and suggest their patient find another Dr. who is willing to do it. I know someone that has had an 'elective' double mastectomy for similar yet less serious reasons.

    Considering this info, I don't know why any Dr. would refuse:

    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.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:17 AM on May. 14, 2013

  • i think in this case there is a very good reason to do it. my grandma had a double mastectomy after fighting breast cancer for a few years and it was a very hard discussion for her to make while in the middle of things. if she had made that choice ahead of time it could have saved her some grief...but then this was the 80s and breast cancer wasnt something on all women's minds like it is now.

    but i think doctors should be able to refuse to take off a body part if theres no reason behind it. a doctor shouldnt be required to remove a hand or a foot just cause someone wants it gone...theres no reason for that. but if the chances of that hand or foot getting a disease is high, well okay.

    Answer by okmanders at 10:25 AM on May. 14, 2013

  • I look at it like this...

    We have a breast/ovarian cancer gene in our family and have lost SEVERAL women to late stage breast cancer from as young as 24 (great-great grandmother). MY mom had preventative at 36, and her risk is about 5 percent from just about 100%... breast cancer has not skipped over a woman in our family in several generations. Now, my psycho sister is 4 years younger than me and has ALREADY had the surgery, she was 22 and wanted attention... I am 30 and still have no intentions of doing it just yet. My mind may change but I figure as long as I am proactive I will be okay for now.

    Now if a doctor tried to tell me no... I would lose it. My body my choice right?

    Answer by amazinggrace83 at 12:11 PM on May. 14, 2013

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