Tags: Cancer | etheridge | jolie | breast | cancer

Melissa Etheridge: Jolie Mastectomy Is Not 'Brave'

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 04:20 PM

Angelina Jolie said it was the right choice to have a double mastectomy because of the cancer-causing genetic mutation she has — but rocker Melissa Etheridge, a breast cancer survivor, doesn't agree and believes there are viable alternatives.

"I have to say I feel a little differently. I have that gene mutation too and it’s not something I would believe in for myself. I wouldn’t call it the brave choice. I actually think it’s the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer," Etheridge told The Washington Blade.

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"My belief is that cancer comes from inside you and so much of it has to do with the environment of your body. It’s the stress that will turn that gene on or not. Plenty of people have the gene mutation and everything but it never comes to cancer."

Earlier this year, Jolie revealed the radical procedure she underwent in an opinion piece in the New York Times — a decision the Oscar-winning actress' husband Brad Pitt called "absolutely heroic."

"On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman," Jolie said. "I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."

Etheridge, a Grammy-winning guitarist, said that for anybody faced with the gene-mutation question, "that choice is way down the line on the spectrum of what you can do and to really consider the advancements we’ve made in things like nutrition and stress levels.

"I’ve been cancer free for nine years now and looking back, I completely understand why I got cancer. There was so much acidity in everything. I really encourage people to go a lot longer and further before coming to that conclusion."

Etheridge, who underwent cancer treatment in 2004, later softened her stance in a statement to ETOnline.com, saying: "I don't have any opinion of what she 'should have' done. All are free to choose. I only objected to the term 'brave' describing it."

Pitt, told of Etheridge's opinions at the premiere of his new zombie film "World War Z," said to US Weekly: "Melissa's an old friend of mine. I'm sure we'll talk on the phone. I don't know what it is."

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