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'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increases Testing

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After the actress came forward about her preventive double mastectomy, testing increased! 

The Academy Award winning actress had a preventive double mastectomy done in February of 2013 after learning that she had an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer due to a defective gene but kept it quiet for months before she came forward. Jolie’s mother also had and died from breast cancer. Ever since then the “Angelina Jolie Effect” has put genetic testing in the spotlight. According to a recent Canadian study, the number of women who got genetic testing for breast cancer went up drastically. 

"When we compared six months before the [Jolie] story to six months after, we found the number of referrals doubled," said the study author. The researchers found that 487 women had testing in the six months before Jolie’s announcement and within the six months after her news, 916 women had testing. A definite positive celebrity effect! Even now late into 2014, the “Angelina Jolie Effect” is still positively affecting the number of women getting tests. 

Even if women are not at risk, at least Jolie has brought awareness to the issue. In a New York Times piece, Jolie said, “I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. 

Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.”

According to BreastCancer.org, women can lower their breast-cancer risk immediately. Those include limiting alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising three to four hours per week and avoiding cooking in plastics.

Photo Credit: PR Photos