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Why it's important for celebs to lead by example

Updated: May 14, 2013, 5:18 PM IST
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Why it's important for celebs to lead by example
The problem with celebrities is that they need to live with their act, their each word for the rest of their lives.

New Delhi: "My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was." This is the opening paragraph of Angelina Jolie's article in The New York Times under the caption 'My Medical Choice'.

The write-up discusses about the reasons that prompted Angelia Jolie to go for double mastectomy, which is a medical term used to signify the partial or complete removal surgery of breasts.

Jolie says in the article that she had been detected with a gene called BRCA1 and that's why she decided to undergo the surgery. BRCA1 is responsible for increasing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women to a very high level, which has been reduced to under 5% in Jolie's case after the surgery.

The decision to let the world know about the surgery is important due to its implications. This is not just about a celebrity who wants to be with her children as long as she can but is about every woman who are under severe threat of developing the breast cancer.

It takes immense amount of courage for a woman to accept in front of the world that she has undergone double mastectomy as it is directly linked to womanhood. The amount of required courage grows manifolds in case of a celebrity because it can have an adverse effect on her fan following.

A disease needs to be seen with utmost importance, especially if it is a life threatening disease. Angelina Jolie's family has a history of cancer and thus her concerns are valid enough.

From Manhattan to Mumbai, women are suffering from this disease. The flex boards of Health Ministry clearly say that breast cancer is the commonest form of cancer found in Indian women, but most of the time women conservative society relate the removal of breasts with womanhood and that hampers the process of recovery in a big way.

If you treat an ailment as it is then you also need to be progressive in your approach towards its cure.

Similarly, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and his wife Kiran Rao went for an informed decision about their surrogate child. Their choice was identical to Nicole Kidman and Sarah Jessica Parker.

The problem with celebrities is that they need to live with their act, their each word for the rest of their lives. They can't forget things even if they want to, so one may assume the kind of thinking they would put before revealing such a personal thing.

It's a forward looking approach to understand the need to educate other women. When Angelina writes, "It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women," she is opening the path for a debate about more government assisted medical health facilities.

The actress' initiative will pave the way for more informed women and more accessible treatment process. She has taken the risk to reveal her breast removal surgery to her audience and now it depends on the concerned people and authorities to make her valour count.

First Published: May 14, 2013, 5:18 PM IST
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