The Angelina Jolie Effect is Real and Measurable
A study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research revealed that Angelina Jolie sharing her story of testing positive for the BRCA1 gene and undergoing a double mastectomy greatly affected the number of women getting genetic testing to check for breast cancer in 2012 and 2013.
Jolie’s mother died of the disease and her aunt passed two weeks after she revealed that she had undergone a double mastectomy. The National Cancer Institute notes that the procedure has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer by around 90 percent in people who are at high risk of developing the disease but is not recommended for women with lower risks.
According to the study, more than 30 breast cancer family history clinics and 10 genetic testing centers were involved in quantifying the referrals to each service for BRCA1/2 genetic testing, which is used to determine whether women are carriers of the gene linked to the most invasive form of the disease.
The study found that after Jolie’s story was revealed in May, referrals for genetic testing increased almost two and a half times the rate in June and July, and remained at about twice the rate of the previous October.
The study states that the Angelina Jolie effect appears to have had a lasting impact on increasing referrals to genetic testing centers.