October 4, 2013 5:56 PM EST
“Angelina Jolie Effect” Leads To Greater Breast Cancer Awareness And Rise In Needless Surgeries [PHOTOS/VIDEOS]
After 38-year-old actress Angelina Jolie, who was in a high-risk cancer category, announced this year she had a double mastectomy. Women enthused by Angelina Jolie are asking for breast removal surgery - even if they don't need it - worrying doctor Mokbel, a consultant surgeon specialist and Lead Surgeon at the London Breast Institute has warned.
Jolie's double mastectomy led to a surge in breast cancer awareness named the "Angelina Effect" by TIME Magazine for the May 27 cover story.
According to figures from the London Breast Institute: a quarter of women who develop cancer in one breast are now asking for both to be removed.
But Professor Kefah Mokbel has reportedly said that surgery would be futile for women who are not in the same category as Jolie.
"It's obviously a great step forward that Angelina Jolie has increased awareness of breast cancer," said Dr. Kefah Mokbel.
"But we're seeing a large number of women requesting a preventative mastectomy for peace of mind, women who've been diagnosed but don't have a genetic predisposition so wouldn't benefit."He continued.
Angelina Jolie's risk of having breast cancer was amplified by more than 80 percent and ovarian cancer by 50 percent, as a carrier of the mutation in the BRCA1 gene. As her aunt died from breast cancer and her mother from ovarian cancer so she decided to go for surgery and announced her decision to have both breasts removed.
According to studies, the incidence of breast cancer may be abridged by 90 percent or more after preventive mastectomy in women with a high risk of this disease.
Jolie received praise for her decision and admired women around the globe, but the problem increased when genetic testing for BRCA mutations had risen by 67 percent since she went public, and preventative mastectomies have risen fourfold according to London Breast Institute figures .
Here we have summed up some noteworthy points and data:
- Doctor warns patients are requesting double mastectomies even if they don't need one
- Tests for high-risk cancer gene have risen by 67% since Jolie's operation
- Angelina carries the BRCA1 mutation giving her 80% chance of breast cancer
- Angelina had preventative surgery and went public with the news in May this year
- Double mastectomies in the UK have quadrupled since then
- Not all NHS hospitals offer it because of the cost of a test for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations is £1,500.
- The surgery involves the removal of both breasts and provides the greatest protection for women at high risk of developing cancer in breast tissue
- Immediate reconstruction: Breast reconstruction can be done at the time of the preventive mastectomy
- Women with a family history of breast cancer are advised to undergo genetic screening which is done via a blood test.
- They can also take drugs to lessen the risk including Tamoxifen which works by suppressing oestrogen, a hormone that triggers tumour growth, or by undergoing very regular checks
The "Angelina Effect" mixed with fear, had resulted some patients to ask or even go for preventative surgery and that there was a hazard of over-treatment, Professor Mokbel also warned that patients can suffer psychological damage after having radical surgery.
Like Jolie less than one per cent of women carry the faulty BRCA1 gene or BRCA2 gene, which is very analogous. He made an appeal to women consider preventative breast removal to have counselling and proper screening.
More admirable addition: As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 45-year-old singer Anastacia revealed she had also chosen to have a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with cancer for the second time.
Watch the Angelina Jolie and breast cancer prevention and awareness in the video below:
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