Kelly Osbourne Shares Angelina Jolie's Cancer Gene & May Undergo Preventative Surgeries To Protect Herself
On Tuesday morning, the world was shocked by a New York Times op-ed piece in which Angelina Jolie's preventive surgery against ovarian cancer was revealed by the actress herself. While reactions ranged from the positive to the negative to the merely shocked, Jolie's tale stood as a strong, relatable story to guide, educate, or comfort other women who may find themselves going through the same thing and may mistakenly be feeling alone in that. Tuesday night, Kelly Osbourne revealed she has the cancer gene as well, declaring her support for Jolie's decision for a very personal reason.
Osbourne's mother, Sharon, struggled with cancer in the past and, on The Talk, Osbourne revealed her own personal battle. "I actually do have the cancer gene. My mom made all of us get tested after she found out that she had it and got her double mastectomy." The former Fashion Police host also revealed that she, too, planned to eventually undergo the same surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes that Jolie had in order to prevent herself from contracting cancer later in her life:
I agree with this 100 percent. I know that one day I will eventually have to do it too because if I have children, I want to be there to bring them up. I want to be there to support them in every way I can... I have been the child of a cancer survivor, so being on that end as well is really, really hard to deal with, so I’m so lucky to have the brave mother I have that has taught me so much. It’s something I applaud Angelina for because she’s bringing attention to this, and people are now going to go out and get tested for it.
And it's true. Unlike when Jolie got her double mastectomy and wrote an op-ed about it in 2013, people seem to be trying to increase their own knowledge of cancer risk. According to Good Morning America, doctors have seen a spike in breast cancer screenings — even more so overseas. Jolie's words seem to have really resonated with her audience this time, and Osbourne coming forward with her own story is a huge help. Not only is it heartwarming to see celebrities supporting one another when it comes to speaking about and handling a disease as terrifying as cancer, but Osbourne provides another visible public face associated with this issue, with this gene, with this surgery.
As sad as it is to admit, many people only become interested in something when it's associated with famous faces. Jolie's story was spread by her fame, raising awareness of an option that many people might have otherwise overlooked, and Osbourne's solidarity with that story — plus the personal effect the issue has had on her life — will reach people that perhaps Jolie couldn't have. If even one woman goes to the doctor for a breast cancer screening just from hearing about Jolie's op-ed piece or Osbourne's own declaration that she will undergo the surgery, then the story has had impact. If even one woman reads their words and realizes that this issue isn't something that they are facing alone, then the story has had impact.
The bravery that these two women have displayed, not only in researching or undergoing the surgery but also in sharing their stories with the world, is truly inspirational. Cancer is not an easy diagnosis to live with, and it's the one diagnosis that everyone fears when they go to the doctor. By removing some of the taboo around discussing it, by encouraging people to go out and get themselves tested while there is still time for preventive surgeries, Jolie and Osbourne are creating a more safe atmosphere for women across the country. They are building a community of cancer survivors, of people whose lives have somehow been touched by cancer, of people who are dangerously likely of contracting the disease — and they are making that community feel normal, accepted, and, most importantly, not alone.
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