Angelina Jolie's preventive measures against breast cancer and her openness regarding her double mastectomy significantly increased public awareness about reconstructive surgery options, according to a recent study published in the Cancer journal.
Jolie, 40, wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2013
that frankly and openly discussed her response to the discovery that she inherited the BRCA1 gene mutation, which increased her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer to 87 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Her decision to undergo a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery and the intense media coverage that followed her revelation provided the situation for the Cancer journal’s study.
A team from the Medical University of Graz led the study and provided online research that resulted from polling 1,000 women, according to Medical News Today
. The study, which was led by Dr. David B. Lumenta from the Division of Plastic, Aesthetic, and Reconstructive Surgery in the Department of Surgery at the Medical University of Graz in Austria, suggested that Jolie and the media coverage surrounding her op-ed provided the “tipping point for raising awareness,” the New York Daily News reported
The post-Angelina poll found that 92.6 percent of women in the study now know that breast reconstruction surgery is a viable option, which was up from the 88.9 percent from the pre-Angelina poll, according to LiveScience
. The post-Angelina poll also found that 68.9 percent on women polled now know that breast reconstruction surgery is possible with a woman’s own fat tissue, rather than synthetic breast implants, which was up from the 57.6 percent in the pre-Angelina poll.
“This is the first prospective report to prove the media's effect on the healthcare-related issue of breast cancer among the general public,” Lumenta said, according to LiveScience.
Jolie's mother, aunt, and grandmother all died from cancer, according to Medical News Today, and her decision to undergo the double mastectomy reduced her chances of developing breast cancer from 87 percent to less than 5 percent.
"For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options," Jolie wrote in her op-ed. “I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy I made.”
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