Two articles from the NY Times, “No Quick or Easy Choices on Breast Reconstruction” and “The Outrageous Cost of a Gene Test” ,” expand on the themes I raised in my last blog.

As one of the plastic surgeons quoted in the first article states, reconstruction is major surgery with all the inherent risks and takes most people up to a year to fully recover.  Jolie’s seeming “easy and quick” three month recovery may leave people underestimating the risks and potential complications of mastectomy and reconstruction.

In addition to the loss of sensation and sexual arousal (even in many skin and nipple conserving mastectomies) many women have other complications including: infections and bleeding, anesthesia complications, scarring, discomfort, pain that never goes away, implants that rupture or need to be replaced…just to name a few.

When I made my choice I figured that implants were like tires–they’d need to be replaced at some point with another surgery. That didn’t sound like a very healthful option!

In fact, the American Cancer Society says that as many as half of all implants (saline and silicone) need to be replaced in 10 years. Going with that statistic, I’d potentially already have had two more surgeries if I’d chosen reconstruction. Definitely not the way I want to spend my free time!

The fabulous research assistant who sent me these links (and also happens to be my husband) said this article made him happy I’d not chosen reconstruction. Me too.

My point about the audacious ethics of Myriad Genetics (the company that currently owns the patten on the BRCA tests) is fleshed out in “The Outrageous Cost of a Gene Test.” The author, a medical oncologist who consults in the area of genetics, points out that Myriad is estimating  a profit margin of 87% on a 25-gene cancer risk evaluation that will phase out the BRCA tests in 2015.

87% profit? At whose expense? Yours and mine.

When did it become acceptable for a company to patten and profit off of genes that they had nothing to do with creating?

I am glad that Angelina stepped up and brought the conversation about breast health to our attention. She made a courageous decision in line with her own values as I did mine.

My hope is that all of us will be informed consumers of services and not blindsided by media hoopla about quick and easy answers to life and death issues.