The medical procedure was nothing new but it had never been discussed on the scale induced by Jolie’s May op-ed contribution published in the New York Times. However, despite the mass publicity around the 38-year-old American’s announcement, it appears awareness of the procedure is still lacking.
Joondalup Health Campus nurse Mandy Morgan-Jones, who like Jolie has this year opted for a preventative double mastectomy, is hoping to change that.
The Edgewater resident, who will undergo the procedure next month, discovered the need for more conversation when she went searching for a support group focused on the operation but could not find one. Not content with that outcome, she created her own ” Pink Genes.
‘There is a lot of support for women who have been diagnosed or are recovering from breast cancer, but there is little support for women like me who are undertaking drastic steps to reduce our risk,’ she said.
‘A mastectomy is a massive change in a woman’s life and has a significant physical and emotional impact.
‘I wanted to create a community where women can help one another, share their stories and experiences.’
The 50-year-old Emergency Department nurse said Pink Genes, run through the Breast Cancer Network Australia, was ‘not only for those of us going through this process but our husbands, friends and families who are taking this journey too’.
Those who read Jolie’s piece will remember her emphasising the importance of her long-term partner, fellow American actor Brad Pitt
‘To anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition,’ she wrote.
Ms Morgan-Jones, who will undergo the operation next month, said in many respects the decision had been an easy one.
With four generations of family with breast cancer, as well as an additional risk factor through her grandfather’s heritage, she knew she was at high risk.
‘I don’t want to look back in five years, have breast cancer and think that I could have done something about it,’ she said.