Angelina Jolie’s startling decision to have her healthy breasts removed at age 37 was medically justified, given her mother’s untimely death from ovarian cancer and her own unfavorable genetic profile, local doctors and geneticists said Tuesday.
But Jolie’s poignant first-hand story of cancer loss and cancer prevention, published in Tuesday’s New York Times, isn’t every woman’s story, they stressed.
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BRCA genes and cancer:
- Account for 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers and 10 to 15 percent of ovarian cancers among white women.
- Ethnic Ashkenazi Jews are most likely to carry the mutations. Also, women with multiple relatives who had breast or ovarian cancer.
- Insurance often covers testing for people who qualify. For others, a limited test costs about $575. More detailed tests cost $3,200 to $4,000.
- One company offers the tests, Myriad Genetics. Its patents are the subject of a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Source: Palm Beach Post research.