Doctors reveal "Angelina Jolie effect" sees double the number of women having tests for genetic breast cancer

by hellomagazine.com Angelina Jolie has inspired more than double the previous number of women to undergo tests for genetic breast cancer according to doctors.

Since May, when the actress revealed that she had a double mastectomy to prevent her getting breast cancer, doctors have noticed what they call "the Angelina effect" a surge in the number of women being screened for a genetic predisposition to breast cancer.

A new study measured the impact of newlywed Angelina's announcement on women in the UK, finding that
the number of GP referrals for genetic counselling and DNA tests for breast cancer mutations has increased two and a half times.

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"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," said Professor Gareth Evans, from the charity Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention and St Mary's Hospital. "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.

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"These high-profile cases often mean that more women are inclined to contact centres such as Genesis and other family history clinics," he added. "So that they can be tested for the mutation early and take the necessary steps to prevent themselves from developing the disease."

"We have heard anecdotally that referrals to family history and genetics services had increased since Angelina Jolie's announcement," said Sally Greenbrook, a senior policy officer at the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer. "But it's interesting to see evidence to support this. We're also encouraged to learn that women with a family history of breast cancer are recognising that they may be at increased risk of developing the disease and taking a proactive approach to their health."