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1 post categorized "breast cancer"

August 21, 2008

Christina Applegate's Ultimate Decision

We had shocking news a few years ago. Housemate's friend was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. The lump appeared to be growing at an exponential rate and a masectomy was required, followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Breast cancer, for women (like prostrate cancer for men), casts a dark shadow in our contemporary world that has seen an increase in younger women. A decade or more prior, it was a cancer of older women, and even then, either due to few detection techniques, it wasn't so prevalent but that could be because it wasn't highlighted in the media. When our friend finished her radio and chemo, and was given the all-clear, I was amazed with her candor – and the fact that she was still lighting up her Marlboros. Yes, even the smoking zeitgeist suckers me and when I pointed to her Marlboros she said, "I didn't get breast cancer from smoking, you know."

Breast cancer today is related to a genetic predisposition. The BRCA1 gene is linked to breast cancer and it is still not really clear what activates this gene to overdose on cell production, which is what cancer is – a flaw in the cell cycle.

In the early hours of yesterday morning (insomnia can be a good thing), I watched the delayed telecast of a Today Show interview with Christina Applegate. It was only a fortnight ago that I read a blurb about her breast cancer diagnosis, the type of blurb you find in a small portion of a magazine, so it was a surprise to watch the interview and find out that she has recently had a double masectomy. I don't know what made it all the more surprising; it isn't difficult to sympathize with Christina. She works in an industry that can be fickle, superficial and focused on appearance, but that isn't the big deal, the big deal is wrestling with a decision that tends to collide with modern feminine 'standards' or silly standards that dominate the media.

You can't really pick up a copy of the Sports Illustrated edition without seeing a 'taut' model. Likewise, you can't flick through the pages of any woman's magazine without noticing the models, and their 'ideal' proportions. Here you have a pair of boobs, that are promoted, ogled and held up as a standard of beauty by the media and fashion industry, and when you're at the crossroads, when it is a life or death matter, the decision needs to be made immediately, and everything changes. It kind of makes you wonder what type of frivolous world we live in.

Chistina said (in the interview):

"If this had been caught a year from now, or when I was 40, I probably wouldn't be able to live through this."

It's a sobering revelation and I wish Christina all the best from here on out. If you want to see the interview, visit the ABC News website here.

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