Local Breast Cancer Survivor Supports Angelina Jolie’s Decision

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Angelina Jolie revealed that she had a double mastectomy after genetic tests showed she had a high risk of developing the disease.  That decision has women in the Quad Cities asking the question of “What would you do in that situation?”

Davenport teacher Joyce Jackson says she was shocked to hear the news back in 1990 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The cancer was so aggressive that she had to make a decision right away. Doctors could operate on the affected area or remove her entire breast.  She recalls turning to a nurse for advice.

“One of the things that she said to me was I wouldn’t be so vain as to opt out for the lumpectomy and then have the cancer come back with vengeance,” Joyce explains.

She had the mastectomy with the goal to stop the cancer in its tracks. But for Joyce, the fight wasn't over.  Seven years later in 1997, cancer was found in her other breast and Joyce decided to have another mastectomy.

Genesis Center for Breast Health nurse practitioner Leslie Poston explains that women are now starting to make the decision to have a double mastectomy as a preventative measure like Angelina Jolie but it's a highly personal decision.

“A bilateral mastectomy is a big surgery but breast cancer is a big disease so it’s a very personal thing.”

Looking back, Joyce says she might have done things differently opting to remove both breasts after the first diagnosis.

“Thinking back, I probably would have done the same thing she had. Every woman has to make that choice for themselves,” She says.