It was a brave decision to go public and an even braver decision to undergo the surgery.
But since Angelina Jolie’s heartfelt admission in May last year that she had undertaken a double mastectomy after discovering she was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, the knock on effect has been incredible.
NHS referrals for genetic tests of breast cancer risk have now doubled, a new study has revealed.
Researchers found that the ‘Angelina Jolie Effect’ lasted until at least October last year.
Angelina made the decision to have a double mastectomy last year after finding out she had the BRCA1 cancer gene, meaning she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer.
Lead researcher Professor Gareth Evans of Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention said that Angelina’s admission had clearly raised awareness of family history in breast cancer risk.
He said: “Angelina Jolie stating she has a BRCA1 mutation and going on to have a risk-reducing mastectomy is likely to have had a bigger impact than other celebrity announcements, possibly due to her image as a glamorous and strong woman.”
“This may have lessened patients’ fears about a loss of sexual identity post-preventative surgery and encouraged those who had not previously engaged with health services to consider genetic testing.”
Chief executive at the charity Breast Cancer Campaign, Baroness Delyth Morgan, also praised Angelina’s decision to go public with her news.
She said: “Without Angelina Jolie’s openness in talking about her BRCA1 mutation and decision to have a risk-reducing mastectomy, followed by the publication and publicity around the updated NICE guidelines soon after, many women may not have approached health services and so would never have had their risk and risk-reducing options explained.”
Well done, Ange.
[ Angelina Jolie reveals she has undergone a double mastectomy ]
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