She is being criticized for drawing too much attention to herself, and for all that stuff about talking to Eastern doctors and naturopaths, but I honestly think she is being brave and inspiring. I have posted on here several times over the past few months about my decision to get genetic testing due to a family history of cancer. Unlike Angelina Jolie, I tested negative for the gene mutation. I first found out that I didn't have the specific mutation that has been found in other family members, and then yesterday I received news that they finished the full testing of over a dozen different genes, with no cancer-associated mutations found.*
But reading about her decisions made my decision to go in for screening a bit easier. And knowing that she chose to publicly talk about her decision to have a preventative bilateral mastectomy made that possibility feel a little less frightening to me. When I mentioned it as a possibility to my friends, I got a really negative reaction from one of them, but I knew that if it had the potential to reduce my risk of cancer and early death, it was something I couldn't automatically rule out.
It turns out that I won't need to make the hard decisions Angelina Jolie has had to make. Of course I could still get cancer of some kind, but without the genetic mutation present I won't be considering any prophylactic surgeries or extra screenings beyond the normal recommended ones. But before I had my results, when I was contemplating the possibility of a future with this risk hanging over my head all the time, Angelina Jolie's story gave me comfort.
*They did find one mutation that is considered a variant of unknown significance, but the Dr I was talking to on the phone said I could consider my cancer risk to be in line with the general female population and follow typical prevention and screening guidelines accordingly.