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Public Celebrity Breast Cancer Journeys May Help Increase Screenings

Angelina Jolie helped spread the word about BRCA gene screening.

It’s widely known that celebrities can have an impact on people’s lives, from popularizing fashion trends to offering some gossip to pass the time. Now it appears that a public figure’s journey with breast cancer may be having a positive effect on the public. According to the Boston Globe, there has been a rapid increase in the number of women getting tested for breast cancer gene mutations, since Angelina Jolie made the announcement of having a mastectomy to prevent the disease from developing.

“We’ve definitely had more women coming in to discuss their family history and whether genetic testing is appropriate after they heard about Angelina Jolie,” Dr. Huma Rana, a geneticist at the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told the source.

The genetic screening helps determine if an individual has the BRCA1 or 2 gene, which indicates a high risk of developing breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, most women have a 12 percent chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. However, the risk jumps to 45 to 65 percent for women caring the BRCA genetic markers.

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