The media did a damn good job about making sure we all knew about Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy. She went public, if I recall correctly, to raise awareness about the BRCA gene. I respect this decision and congratulate her on a brave decision to take something very personal and make it public.
In a recent survey, three quarters of us did know about her surgery and decision. Considering that it happened less than a year ago and and was much less significant than a war, earthquake, typhoon, etc 75% is a pretty good number.
I would also like to point out that all those years of breast cancer awareness and pinkification have allowed this to become a major news topic and not get buried under the carpet or something. However the information stops at awareness.
Only 10% of those asked in the survey knew about Angelina's BRCA diagnosis and why she had the mastectomy. I think I am okay with this. If you are not embedded in the breast cancer world you can't be expected to know chapter and verse about the genetic causes of breast cancer.
For example, I know there is some family genetic trait that leads to Huntington's disease and don't really feel I need to know more about it because it does not affect me directly. If it did, I would be up on it and have read all the research.
I think we have reached a level of breast cancer awareness that is overdone. But I do not think we need to expect that all American's know the great details of a breast cancer diagnosis and all its risk factors. There are many other diseases and ailments that deserve more awareness and shouldn't be hidden behind a pink curtain of over-hype and over-awareness.
I do think Americans need to embrace overall awareness of a healthy lifestyle and not focus on a few diseases at a time - the ones that are closest to them and causing them the most problems.