Jolie’s procedure not typical for breast cancer prevention

DANVILLE – Word broke Tuesday that movie star Angelina Jolie had preventative surgery after learning she carried a gene that makes it extremely likely she will get breast cancer.  While this was the correct procedure for her, Dr. Victor Vogel of Geisinger Medical Center, says having this type of mastectomy is not a typical preventative measure.  “The mutated gene is only present in the population for about 1/600 to 1/800 women,” says Vogel.  “It is relatively uncommon and reserved for a unique group of women, not necessarily something for the general public.”

Dr. Vogel says it is very important that women do what is best for them based on their individual situation.  “Sometimes people do what stars do just because they are stars.  I think it is a very important message of what people should not do.  What we do want women over 40-years-old to do is to get a mammogram and see their healthcare provider annually.”

Dr. Vogel says the genetic mutation was found in Jolie through testing and the testing is done because of her mother’s diagnosis of breast cancer in her 40’s.  Dr. Vogel says the average age for a breast cancer diagnosis for women in the U.S. is 60-61-years-old.  The surgery reduces her risk of developing breast cancer by about 95%. (Sara Bartlett)





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