In the News: Family history helps Angelina Jolie decide how to lower her risk of breast cancer

GHHEditor June 10th

Angelina Jolie, an actress, director, and humanitarian, is one of many women in the U.S. who have breast cancer in their family medical history. Through genetic testing Jolie found that she carried the BRCA1 gene which was passed down from her mother who fought cancer for nearly ten years and finally died from it at the age 56.

After learning about her own genetic predisposition, Jolie decided to have both of her breasts removed to decrease the chances of getting breast and ovarian cancer herself. This procedure is called a preventive double mastectomy.

According to Jolie’s doctor, by having the mastectomy she decreased her chance of getting breast cancer by 87 percent and ovarian cancer by 50 percent.

Why did Jolie decide to take such drastic measure? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven out of 100 women will get breast cancer by age 70 and about one out of 100 women will get ovarian cancer by age 70. Because Jolie had the double mastectomy, she brought her risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer down to less than five percent.

Jolie decided to share her story publically in the hopes of helping all women who may at some point in their lives face the risk of breast cancer. Her story highlights the importance of knowing your family medical history, getting genetic testing done, and reminding us that there are many options to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

To read more about Jolie’s battle with breast cancer click here

For more information on breast cancer click here


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