Bread: A National Film Board of Canada interactive production
Bread: A National Film Board of Canada interactive production
Created by Mariette Sluyter
Getty Images Credits: Getty Images
What to ask your doctor about Angelina's cancer surgery.
When Angelina Jolie writes about her personal health struggles in the New York Times, it makes a splash. In 2013, Jolie set off a media storm by writing about her double mastectomy and genetic predisposition for cancer, then wrote about a second surgery, this time to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, in 2015.
High drama, yes, but it’s hard not to admire her candour. Jolie writes that she is now in full menopause and using bio-identical estrogen patches and an IUD to replace the hormones she’s lost. That’s no small reveal for anyone, let alone an actress known for her vitality and sex appeal.
Jolie also added a note of caution, knowing that the "Jolie effect" is now a recognized factor in doctor-patient conversations and that her preventative surgeries are an extreme course of action.
"I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this. A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery," she writes.
On this point, Canadian doctors and cancer experts agree. High drama may be a good way to start a conversation but calm heads makes the soundest decisions.
A cancer doctor weighs in
Dr. Marcus Bernardini a surgical oncologist at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at University Health Network told us there are a few things Canadian women should know in the wake of Jolie’s announcement:
1. There is actually no effective general screening for high-grade serious ovarian cancer and screening is not recommended.
2. Preventative surgery is recommended for high-risk women (those who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation).
3. Jolie mentions a scenario in which only the fallopian tubes are removed (called a salpingectomy) for women who still hope to get pregnant. Dr. Bernardini calls this "an intriguing strategy," but for now the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (a salpingo-oophorectomy) is the recommended course of action.
4. There are four questions Dr. Bernardini suggests discussing with your doctor if you have concerns raised by Angelina Jolie’s story:
- Am I at risk for ovarian cancer?
- Is there a history of ovarian cancer in my family?
- How does one find out if they are eligible for testing?
- I know there are different types of ovarian cancer, are all preventable in this way?
Family history is the starting point
Responding to the Jolie news this week, Gillian Bromfield, the director of Cancer Control Policy at the Canadian Cancer Society also pointed out that it’s important that people try to learn their family health history.
The group also has information for women with a known strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, including information on genetic testing, and preventive strategies that may be available to them, she says.
"The decision to have a preventive surgery is a very personal one that a woman would make in consultation with her healthcare provider based on her medical history and her personal preferences," she says.
Here’s hoping Jolie’s candour leads to more information being shared – not more panic.
Read on for more information on menopause and genetic testing.
Mocha Chocolate Crackles Credits: Ryan Szulc
Looking for a delicious cookie to add to you holiday baking repertoire? We share 16 of our favourite drop cookie recipes for you to pick from.
Crispy sugar-dusted crusts surround perfectly soft, chewy centres in these chocolaty delights. The cookies are so addictive. With plenty of milk on standby, there's no telling how quickly they'll disappear.
Canadian Living has published many chocolate chip cookie recipes, but founding food editor Carol Ferguson's recipe, with a punchy hit of vanilla, is the standout. You can try making these cookies with all butter as well.
Ground chai tea and some additional ground chai spices give these buttery almond cookies a subtle, pleasing flavour. Find loose-leaf chai tea in bulk food stores or specialty tea shops. In a pinch, empty a tea bag or two to get the proper amount.
Tart sour cherries and dark chocolate are a delightful match - especially in this easy drop cookie. It's a guaranteed cookie exchange win.
Just a pinch of cinnamon takes white chocolate to even greater heights of flavour. It also acts as a delicious counterpoint to the gingery spice of these cookies, which are perfectly crispy on the outside and delectably chewy on the inside.
The coarse sugar on these licorice-flavoured drops glistens like snowballs. Split the remaining vanilla bean half and place in airtight container with 1/2 cup granulated sugar. The vanilla will permeate the sugar. Use it to sprinkle on scones or cookies, or in your morning coffee.
These rich morsels have a gorgeous crackle topping.
This twist on the traditional classic is sure to please everyone!
Recipes in early cookbooks, such as the 1915 edition of the Five Roses Cook Book, show that ginger cookies have been a favourite for generations.
These crispy ginger logs got their name because the thin chocolate coating on top makes them look like eclairs when they're lined up on a platter. Play around with other types of chocolate coating if you like – milk, dark and white chocolates are all delicious with the slightly spicy ginger.
Coarse sugar coats these delightful cookies, giving them an icy glow. Baking them just until the edges begin to firm up delivers chewy cookies; for crispier results, bake until the tops are firm too, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Keep in mind that these cookies harden while cooling, so it pays not to bake them until they're overly crisp.
Snowy white cookies, double-rolled in icing sugar, melt in your mouth and, if you don't watch out, will deliciously dust your holiday outfit.
Crystallized ginger adds an extra dose of zippy spice to these super-easy drop cookies. Walnut halves on top add a touch of elegance to your holiday cookie platters.
Made with only four ingredients, these chewy gluten-free drop cookies take just a few minutes to prepare. Walnuts don't keep well for extended periods at room temperature, so taste them before you begin to make sure they're fresh.
Honey-roasted peanuts add a sweet crunch to these favourite drop cookies.
Everyone loves a surprise, especially when it's a holiday favourite, such as the chocolate-covered almonds tucked inside these toasty macaroons. Be sure the coconut covers the almond completely or its chocolate will melt onto the pan and ruin the surprise.
Warm up to a steaming, fragrant bowl of slow-simmered stew within minutes of stepping through your front door thanks to these five slow cooker stews.
Tangy stuffed olives, fragrant fennel and an herbaceous topping brighten the flavours of this easy chicken stew. Serve over basmati rice to soak up the savoury sauce.
Pancetta, like bacon, is made from cured pork belly. The difference between the two is that pancetta is not generally smoked, giving it a stronger pork flavour. Use thicker pancetta—you can often buy it prechopped—for this stew rather than the thinly sliced variety.
This richly spiced chicken stew has just a touch of sweetness from dried apricots and honey, resulting in a perfectly balanced dish that requires little effort to prepare.
Switch up your usual beef stew with this Asian-inspired version. Five-spice powder, which is an intensely flavourful blend of Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and fennel, lends the stew a mix of warm, sweet and savoury notes.
Cooking molasses boasts a more robust and less sweet taste than the fancy variety, which gives this hearty stew a rich, full-bodied flavour. Whisking in a bit of flour at the end thickens the sauce, making this the ultimate satisfying stick-to-your-ribs meal.
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