Should You Follow Angelina Jolie’s Lead?

Breast Cancer, Featured Article, Healthy Living, Women's Health
on May 14, 2013

After undergoing genetic testing that revealed she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer, Angelina Jolie chose to undergo a preventive double mastectomy, she wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times this morning. Jolie suspected breast cancer might run in her family—her mother, actress Marcheline Betrand, died of the disease after a long battle in 2007, at age 56. Genetic testing confirmed that she carries the BRCA1 gene, which also indicates a high risk of ovarian cancer. Jolie’s surgeries, including reconstruction, took place over the course of several months earlier this year. In the piece, she writes that her risk of breast cancer has now dropped to less than 5 percent.

Shortly after Jolie’s piece was published, CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin announced that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will have a double mastectomy later this month. Sambolin also said she plans to have genetic testing. Earlier this year, a 24-year-old Miss America contestant, Miss D.C. Allyn Rose, announced that she will soon opt for a preventive double mastectomy because her mother, grandmother and great aunt all died from breast cancer and she has tested positive for a rare genetic mutation that causes it.

For more information on genetic testing and whether it’s right for you, check out these 8 things you should know.