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Angelina Jolie Pitt had another major elective surgery but wants you to know you don't have to.

In 2013, Angelina Jolie Pitt underwent a double mastectomy after learning she carried a mutated gene often linked with breast and ovarian cancer. In her March 2015 New York Times op-ed, Angelina revealed she recently underwent another preventative cancer surgery, electing to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. While her story is a brave and touching one, her words for other women who are concerned about their risk of developing cancer speak volumes.

Angelina Jolie Pitt had another major elective surgery but wants you to know you don't have to.

It's important for women to know there are a variety of options available when it comes to dealing with cancer and taking preventative measures if you're at risk for cancer. Angelina's willingness to share her experience is not only brave, but could possibly save lives and comfort women who are worried about their own health.


While her 2013 op-ed on her double mastectomy made news around the world, there are still plenty of women who don't know early cancer screenings are available. And, sadly, the medical industry continues to be incredibly biased toward women, often with giving them higher insurance premiums and fewer opportunities for clinal trials. That's why a huge celebrity who is encouraging women to explore their options and make decisions they feel comfortable with for their bodies is such a big deal. Not to mention, it's also pretty cool to hear a beautiful and confident woman talking about her health and body in such an open and honest way.

One concern raised after Angelina wrote about her double mastectomy that no doubt will surface again with her latest piece was that many women can't afford screening to identify the BRCA1 gene, and even those who can can't always afford surgery or treatment. That's why I think it's important that Angelina noted that there are a variety of options when it comes to preventative cancer care. Feminist organizer and writer Erin Matson summed up this sentiment quite perfectly on Twitter:

My hope is that by making this information more widely available, perhaps more women will demand these tests become more accessible for women of all economic backgrounds and maybe insurance companies will get on board to provide coverage for these screenings.

Angelina went on to say that choosing to have surgery does not make her feel less feminine or less of a woman, which I think is also a powerful note.

Women are not the sum of their body parts. Ovaries don't make a woman. Breasts don't make a woman. Being a woman makes a woman. So it's quite beautiful that Angelina not only used her platform to educate women about their health care options, but shared that her surgeries have not changed who she is. It's important to challenge the idea so many people still subscribe to that femininity and womanhood are reliant on body parts instead of who you are and how you feel about yourself. I'm proud of Angelina Jolie Pitt for using her influence in such a positive way while also acknowledging her privilege and attempting to use it for the benefit of others. Here's hoping this important conversation helps others make more informed decisions about the care they want and need.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less