Angelina Jolie credited with raising breast cancer awareness
This summer Angelina Jolie famously went public with her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy earlier in the year, following the discovery that she carried the faulty BRCA1 gene, which is associated with higher instances of breast and ovarian cancers.
Her Plastic Surgeon, Dr Jay Orringer, has since seen a rise in the number of female patients seeking reconstructive breast surgery following positive results and preventative mastectomies, an increase which he puts down to the actress speaking out on the matter.
Not only has he seen a spike in the numbers, but he is also seeing women who are specifically mentioning Jolie as their reason for having taken the test, telling him:
“I was inspired by that (Jolie’s open letter to The New York Times) to get gene testing.”
With Dr Orringer concluding, ”I think it’s going to have a tremendously lasting impact.”
There is an alternative view amongst the medical profession however, with Professor Kefah Mokbel from the London Breast Institute expressing some concern that women may pursue a double mastectomy unnecessarily. He said:
“Although it is obviously a great step forward that Angelina Jolie has increased awareness of breast cancer, many women request a preventative mastectomy whove been diagnosed but don’t have a genetic disposition so wouldn’t benefit.”
Jolie’s mother, actress and film producer Marcheline Bertrand, died on 2007 at the age of 56, after battling ovarian and then breast cancer for almost 8 years. Her mother, Jolie’s grandmother, also died from the disease, age 45. Because of this Jolie elected to have the test for the BRCA1 gene and discovered she was a carrier.
Doctors estimated that she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer at some point and a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer.
She said in her original op-ed piece that her decision was ultimately based on the ability to be able to say confidently to her children that they wouldnt lose their mother to breast cancer.