A recent research study examined the impact of Angelina Jolie’s announcement related to breast cancer. In May of 2013, the actress announced she underwent a double mastectomy to reduce the risk of breast cancer, after testing positive for a BRCA1 gene mutation.

According to this study, this announcement triggered a significant rise in the number of women with a family history of breast cancer being tested for the mutation, and this increase persisted for the next 5 months. The findings show that when it comes to health news starring a high profile celebrity, it can have a long lasting effect on the health of the general public. In the article, Evans adds that this encourages more women to visit family history clinics so they can find out about any gene mutations early and take the appropriate action. Although this will mean some women may need to have a mastectomy, he says that others may be advised to take cancer-preventing drugs or adopt lifestyle changes in order to reduce cancer risk, https://www.urgentway.com/online-pharmacy/.

Both BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations can be inherited from a parent, and they significantly increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, among others. Approximately 12% of women in the general population will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives, but around 55-65% of women with a BRCA1 gene mutation and 45% with a BRCA2 gene mutation will develop the disease.

The researchers found that in June and July 2013—immediately after Jolie’s announcement—referrals for genetic testing increased two and one-half times compared with the same period in 2012, from 1,981 to 4,847. A 2-fold increase remained until October 2013, after which time genetic testing referrals began to fall. Angelina Jolie stating she has a BRCA1 mutation and going on to have a prophylactic (preventative) mastectomy is likely to have had a bigger impact than other celebrity announcements. This is possibly due to her glamorous image and relationship to Brad Pitt. This may have lessened patients’ fears about a loss of sexual identity following preventative surgery and encouraged those who had not previously engaged with health services to consider genetic testing.

Many of the women seen at TurningPoint have increased family risk of breast and other cancers. TurningPoint cares for women who have had preventative breast cancer surgery in addition to those going through breast cancer. It is important for at-risk relatives to be aware of their family history and request screening or risk-reducing strategies.

The Angelina Jolie effect; how high celebrity profile can have a major impact on provision of cancer related services. R. Evans, J. Barwell, D. Eccles, A. Collins. L Izatt. Breast Cancer Research 2014, 16:442