Since Angelina Jolie announced that she went through breast cancer screening, the rate of that has now increased. Some professionals are calling it the “Angelina Jolie effect,” but are definitely not saying it is a bad thing. The trouble is more and more women have to go through the difficult decision of whether to have a double mastectomy or not.
The issue with the number of screenings on the rise is that there are various types of genetic mutations that can lead to breast cancer. Some, such as Jolie’s BRCA1, carry a high risk of between 50 and 75 percent chance. The second highest risk is between 40 and 60 percent, due to a BRCA2 mutation.
Now women are having to decide whether their risk is high enough for the preventative surgery. Those who have a 25 percent chance of developing breast cancer may not see the risk as high enough. For others that risk is just enough to go through the surgery. It beats having to go through treatment afterwards.
There were complaints from some at the start of the year insisting that Jolie had not improved education over the disease. While that may not be the case, she has certainly raised awareness. That is proof just by breast cancer screening being on the rise since Jolie’s announcement. From there, women can discuss their options with their doctors and families to determine whether they should have the same preventative surgery.
The surgery is not the only preventative option, either. Just recently, a study shows that exercise can lead to fewer older women suffering from the cancer. Moderate, regular exercise is required, but it can reduce the risk by double compared to those who do no exercise at all. However, that risk of developing the cancer increases if a woman stops exercising.
Those who have had this type of cancer in the past may be able to reduce the risk of reoccurrence just by taking aspirin. University of Texas researchers found that women with the estrogen receptor alpha-positive cancer, which is extremely invasive, were less likely to suffer from reoccurrences of it if they took aspirin, ibuprofen and other similar medications. This was especially the case in women who were overweight or obese due to the fatty acids in the blood, which promoted the growth of tumors.
While there are ways to prevent the cancer, they are not fool-proof. For some patients, surgery is considered the best option. It is something that only the patients can decide, with the help from doctors and family members.
The good news is that more women have the chance to make this decision. They have the opportunity to prevent the risk of cancer due to the genetic mutations being found. This would not happen if they were not screened. Even if they choose not to have the surgery, they know the risk of developing the cancer and are likely more aware of the signs and symptoms. The cancer can be caught earlier, which means a better chance of survival afterwards. It is all thanks to Jolie, because her admittance of having the double mastectomy has led to a rise in breast cancer screening.
By Alexandria Ingham