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Etheridge on Jolie: Her mastectomy not 'brave choice'

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By HLNtv.com Staff

Rock legend and breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge is taking issue with Angelina Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy.

"I wouldn't call it the brave choice," Etheridge said in a recent interview with the Washington Blade, a newspaper that focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. "I actually think it's the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer."

Reached by HLN on Tuesday, Etheridge sought to clarify her remark, saying she wasn't offering an alternative to Jolie's procedure, which was preventive. "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," she said.

Jolie underwent the preventive surgery earlier this year after discovering she had a mutation of the BRCA1 gene that sharply increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

Etheridge says in the newspaper article that there are other options that should be looked at before taking such a drastic measure.

"My belief is that cancer comes from inside you and so much of it has to do with the environment of your body," she explains. "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, so I would say to anybody faced with that, 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."

Etheridge, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, says that she would want people to look at a variety of options available: "I really encourage people to go a lot longer and further before coming to that conclusion."

Jolie revealed her decision in a New York Times op-ed piece in May, citing her family as the reason behind her choice. She included that she did "not feel any less of a woman," and that she "made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."

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