The debate over Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy in order to reduce her chances of breast cancer from a ‘Jewish gene’ mutation just got feisty.
Singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, who is herself a breast cancer survivor, said Jolie’s decision was “fearful”, in an interview with the Washington Blade. Asked about Jolie’s decisions, Etheridge, 52, said she would encourage people to wait a lot longer before deciding on a mastectomy.
“I have that gene mutation too and (preventive mastectomy) is not something I would believe in for myself,” Etheridge said. “I wouldn’t call it the brave choice. I actually think it’s the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer.”
Jolie has yet to respond to Etheridge’s comment. Her husband, Brad Pitt, who invited Etheridge perform in his wedding ceremony to Jennifer Aniston, his previous wife, seemed to be surprised by the statement.
“Melissa’s an old friend of mine,” Pitt told US Magazine during a June 17 red carpet event in New York City. “I’m sure we’ll talk on the phone.”
The celebrity feud comes on the heels of groundbreaking and long awaited Supreme Court decision, ruling that human DNA cannot be patented without being altered in some way.
The decision is a victory for people who carry the BRCA mutation, like Jolie and Etheridge, because pace of research of the genetic mutation is now expected to accelerate significantly.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are two genes that are linked to breast and ovarian cancer. Ashkenazi Jews are much more likely to carry the BRCA mutation than the general population.