Conn. Woman Reacts to Angelina Jolie's Double Mastectomy

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bonnie Lurie says she understands the Hollywood star's difficult decision because she had to make it, too (Published Saturday, Feb 1, 2014)

    (NECN: Brian Burnell, New Haven, Conn.) - Angelina Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy after learning she was at high risk for breast cancer shocked many.  

    The idea of one of Hollywood's most beautiful women taking that step in this breast-obsessed society seems radical, but Bonnie Lurie understands because she made the same choice.

    She was diagnosed with very early stage breast cancer three years ago. She could have had a lumpectomy, but having seen two friends deal with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she chose a double mastectomy.

    "Cancer or threat of cancer, I would say, is a lack of control and I think that's one thing people really want to be is in control," she says.

    Control - Bonnie talked a lot about that.  How she lost control when she was diagnosed with cancer and this decision helped her get it back. That may be the gift of Angelina Jolie's decision. The idea that if a Hollywood icon can do this, so can any woman.

    Dr. Aneed Chagpar is director of the Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, Conn.

    "I think that it's great that she actually brought this out so that people are more aware about their own risk and knowing about their genetics and their genetic risk and being able to be proactive in terms of reducing that risk," she says.

    And take control back from the disease. It is also helpful that reconstructive techniques and choices have come a long way.

    "The word 'mastectomy'. Everybody goes 'oh my God'. And they think of this horrible things about years ago, maybe the way your mother or grandmother might have looked and you think of these things that people put in bras and it would be a horrible set up," Lurie says.

    Not these days. In fact, Bonnie says woman are more likely to hear their plastic surgeon say, "I will make your breasts look better than they looked before."