It is new in the medical world for people to undergo a preventive surgery to avoid fetal consequences of a potential medical condition. But neverwillasurgerydone as muchnoise as the Angelina Jolie Preventive CancerSurgery. A year ago, Jolie revealedto the media that she would undergo apreventive removal of thebreastsor”prophylacticmastectomy”. Thissudden news reached the media as a thunder, and has had a positiveimpacton the behavior ofwomen at risk.
In an article entitled “MyMedical Choice” (New York Times, May 14, 2013), Jolieexplained to carry a genetic mutation BRCA1 / BRCA2 which exposed to a high risk of breast cancer and cancer of the ovary, disease that had killed his mother at the age of 56. At 37, the actress has gone ahead and had the courage to talk about it openly to the public. According to her, her risk of developing breast cancer would be increased from 87% to 5% due to the preventive surgical procedure.
The question you may be asking right now is the following: Do the decision of Angelina Jolie and media coverage of her decision lead women at risk to consult their provider and adopt some preventive measures? The same argument was passed by Dr. Odile Cohen-Haguenauer, the Coordinator of Clingene-NoE, and the European Network for the Advancement of Clinical Gene Transfer and Therapy, in a recent interview with Aude Lecrubrier of Medscape medical journal on June 2, 2014.
The specialist says “The intervention of Angelina Jolie had an effect quite extraordinary and positive. She created a movement among women most at risk who never went to see their doctor for potential risks.”She adds, “many persons affected by a family history of breast cancer have now decided to” take the bull by the horns” and gone to their physicians for oncogenetic consultations (related to formation and development of tumors) which they dared not do in the past, cause of denial or fear. However, these consultations are a real added value for their care and that of their families. In practice, these types of consultations started exploding in 2013 and 2014 ”
How to understand the degree of risk you are exposed if you have a family history of breast cancer or other types of genetic-related cancer?
The National Cancer Institute underlines the principles of consultation for genetic related-cancers. These identify any genetic alteration and trace the constitutional pedigree of the affected family. In each case, the potential risk of each member will be assessed by a genetic test – a simple blood test may be prescribed.
This is an important step to take if you are at risk for breast cancer or any form of genetic –relate cancer. Please contact your health care provider for more information on this subject.