DR. MORRIS TURNER
Dr. Morris Turner, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh, said while the overall incidence for African-American women developing breast cancer is lower; the incidences of death are higher. He attributes it to African-American women not pursuing routine examines and mammograms like that of White women. He said it could be due to factors such as cost, not knowing where to go, or just not taking the time to go. So when African-American women do finally go to the doctor and the disease is diagnosed, the stages are more advanced.
Turner also said mastectomies amongst individuals of high notoriety are not a new thing. He referenced Nancy Reagan’s procedure in the late ‘80s to remove her breast, but unlike Jolie, she was diagnosed with cancer.
While other celebrities have undergone mastectomies, celebrities such as African-American comedian and actress Wanda Sykes who underwent a double mastectomy in 2011 after being diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ in her left breast after a reduction surgery, Jolie is the first one to do it for preventative measures.
When asked if this preventative measure is something he would recommend to his patients, Turner said, “If they have a strong family history, then I would discuss it with them (along with all their options), but not necessarily recommend it. The (mutated BRCA1) gene doesn’t mean you’ll get breast cancer, but it does put one at a high risk of developing it.”
Celebrities, especially Jolie, are the inspiration for many trends, such as hair, fashion, etc., but can the same be said for preventative mastectomies?