When Angelina Jolie told the world back in May that she had a preventative mastectomy upon learning she's a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, it was clear the actress's decision was bound to make an impact on women all over the globe. Now, actual stats show that to be the case. Figures from Cancer Research UK show a four-fold surge in women researching the surgery since Angelina's announcement. Wow!
It's nothing short of fantastic that more women are asking questions and becoming more knowledgeable about the genetic testing and operation. But at the same time, I really hope that women are feeling empowered to not necessarily just do as Angie did but instead do what is right for them individually ...
After all, it bears noting that fewer than 1 percent of women carry the BRCA1 gene that Angelina has or BRCA2, which is similar. And although women who carry one of the genes will decide to have the surgery, which is said to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by a significant amount, Dr. Kat Arney, from Cancer Research UK, explains there are other options as well, such as drugs like Tamoxifen -- which suppresses estrogen, which can provoke tumor growth -- or undergoing very frequent screenings.
But that's the info more women are Googling, reading about, discussing, debating, bringing up with their doctors as they're learning more and more about genetic testing and breast cancer prevention. All in all, I'm sure no one is getting the idea from Angie that they need to rush to go under the knife! But they are diving in to find what path is right for them. That said, it sounds like Angelina's wish to bolster other women's wellness by sharing her own experience has hopefully already started to come true.
What do you think about the bump in women researching preventative mastectomies and genetic testing?
Image via Jennifer Mitchell/Splash News