Jolie's medical choice 'inspiring'

To local personality Koh Chieng Mun, prevention is better than cure. And that is why she finds Angelina Jolie's medical choice of having a preventive double mastectomy inspiring.

Koh, best known for her role as heartland housewife Dolly in TV sitcom Under One Roof, was diagnosed with breast and kidney cancer in late 2005, and she had undergone an eight-hour operation to remove tumours in her breast and kidney.

This was followed by six months of radio- and chemotherapy in the first half of 2006.

To Koh, taking preventive measures is way better than being diagnosed and having to go through painful complicated surgery.

The 53-year-old, who had been given the all-clear two years ago, told The New Paper: "Angelina Jolie's decision is a good move, and she will inspire others to do likewise. Breast cancer is very prevalent these days, and women are more proactive now. They won't be afraid to lose their breasts if it means saving their own lives."


She added: "Reconstruction (of the breasts) can be very nicely done nowadays and the finished work can be better than the original.

"Having a double mastectomy does not have to equate to the loss of womanhood, as there are other things such as implants and special bras to make one feel womanly."

The 37-year-old, whose mother died of cancer, wrote: "...the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made... I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."

But Ms Theresa Tan, former editor-in-chief of Elle Singapore magazine, finds the move too extreme. The 45-year-old, who was diagnosed with very early breast cancer in 2010, had all the breast tissue in her right breast removed and reconstructed in a 13-hour operation within two weeks of the diagnosis.

Tan, who runs her own writing agency Word, said: "I feel that having two healthy breasts removed is a very big move. It's like nuking an entire forest just because one tree is infected by a bug.

"To me, having any kind of breast cancer surgery will make me feel like I have lost some form of womanhood. I treasure every part of my body and wouldn't do a double mastectomy if I am not diagnosed."

Local actress Carole Lin, 40, agreed.

She said: "I think that Angelina is being too drastic because she hasn't even been diagnosed yet. Such surgery is so invasive that you won't know if it will lead to worse complications.

"She should just go for regular check-ups, then deal with it if it happens."

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