Breast cancer, gene testing, counselling, and the Angelina Jolie mastectomy story

Breast cancer, gene testing, counselling, and the Angelina Jolie mastectomy story. How Angelina Jolie had double mastectomy, myomectomy and had her ovaries surgically removed.

Blood samples is taken from a woman for DNA analysis to identify mutated or altered breast cancer genes in either BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 and the outcome of the gene testing used to predict or prognosticate the likelihood of the her developing breast or ovarian cancer in future with important decision taken after genetic counselling.

Gene testing becomes necessary when the woman has a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer. If the woman tests positive (she has a defective gene), she undergoes genetic counselling, counselled on the next line of action and she makes her choice. The next line of action here may be to do nothing but with increased surveillance in the form of breast self-examination and routine mammography, or she may decide to do prophylactic mastectomy and ovary removal to reduce cancer related diseases and death.

The brave and courageous Angelina Jolie shocked the world by doing the later in 2013. Jolie had a double mastectomy!

The Angelina jolie gene testing bravery

After disclosing to the public that she had tested positive for the mutated BRCA 1 gene in 2013, with 87% chance of developing breast cancer in future, she made the decision to  do an elective surgery for the prophylactic removal of her two breasts and followed it up 2 years later  with the removal of her ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. That is extreme, right? But don’t blame her. She is brave. Hear her story: She has lost 8 of her family members to different forms of cancer.

Mother- ovarian cancer

Grandmother-ovarian cancer

Great grandmother- ovarian cancer

2 aunties- cancer of the breast

Great aunt- breast cancer

Cousin-  cancer of the breast

Uncle- died of cancer

With this family history, will you still question her decision or call her brave?

Genetic testing is on the rise among women who believe they are at high risk for breast cancer — a trend that has been dubbed the “Angelina Jolie effect” because it occurred after the actress’s public disclosure of her BRCA status and her decision to remove her breasts, which was followed two years later by the elective removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

A retrospective study performed at a Toronto hospital in 2014, for example, reported that the number of women referred for genetic counseling skyrocketed by 90 percent in the six months after Jolie’s announcement. The number of women at the hospital identified as BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation carriers during that period jumped by 110 percent.

Angelina Jolie mastectomy story
Angelina jolie had a double mastectomy and myomectomy
Credit: NYT

This factual story of Angelina Jolie mastectomy story was sourced from:

1. Nigerian Health Blog

2. curetoday.com

3. New York Times

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