To hear the chorus of adulation that arose from the surgical excise of two celebrity breasts, you’d think we should all have “Jolie Strong” signs in our front yards.
Angelina Jolie’s decision to trade an elevated cancer risk for a double mastectomy has been lauded as brave, admirable, and compassionate, motivated as it was by concern for her six children, who presumably won’t have to suffer the loss of their mother as the actress herself did. Her confidence in the decision, expressed in her revelatory op-ed in The New York Times, recalls the Latin maxim “mater semper certa est” — literally, “the mother is always certain.” Figuratively, it means, the matter is beyond dispute. And Jolie is indeed unlikely to get breast cancer if she has no breasts (although a 5 percent risk remains). She is unlikely to get ovarian cancer if, as has been reported, her ovaries are the next to go.