Hollywood diva Angelina Jolie shocked the world when she came out two days ago to say she did double mastectomy. The 37-year-old mother of six said her doctors estimated she had an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. “I decided to be proactive and to minimise the risk as much I could” she wrote in the New York Times.
Mastectomy ( Greek word: breast + removal ) is the medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely. Mastectomy is usually done to treat breast cancer; in some cases, women and some men believed to be at high risk of breast cancer have the operation prophylactically, that is, to prevent cancer rather than treat it.
In the same vein Miss Michigan 2013 winner and contestant in the Miss USA competition Jaclyn Schultz has no uterus. The 24 year old from Wyandotte, Mich., has Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome.
Named after the four physicians who discovered the syndrome, MRKH is a congenital condition in which females are born without a uterus. About 1 in 4,500 women – or 75,000 women in the United States – have the syndrome.
While the main symptom is the failure to menstruate, some women with MRKH have abnormally formed kidneys or a single kidney that may be located in an unusual part of the abdominal cavity.
Other signs include skeletal abnormalities, hearing loss or heart defects.
According to Schultz, “It’s been a little overwhelming and really humbling to know I’m giving the girls a little inspiration to know that they’re not alone”.
“For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options” Ms Jolie went on to say.