Australia – Australian researchers published a study on CANCER magazine naming as the “Angelina Effect” the measurable impact Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy and reconstruction had on rising awareness for breast surgery options.

On March 2013, the researchers polled 1.000 Australian women in ages 18 to 69, asking them questions related to breast cancer and surgery. But after the actress’s stunning announcement, scientific saw a new opportunity for investigation and repeated the telephone survey in June 2013.

A New England Journal of Medicine study indicates that having a mutated BRCA gene increases the lifetime risk of breast cancer to between 60% and 85%, and a lifetime risk of ovarian cancer between 15% and 40%, depending on the gene and the mutation. Credit: LA Times.

The number of women aware that reconstructive surgery is possible after the removal of one or both breasts, jumped from 88.9% to 92.6%, but also awareness rates increased in relation to opinions about reconstructive surgery. During the first poll, only 57.6% of women knew that breast reconstruction was possible by using the patient’s own tissue, the number went up to 68.9%. The percentage of awareness that simultaneous reconstruction is possible went up from 40.5% to 59.5%, and one-fifth of the participants attributed their knowledge on the topic to the media coverage on Angelina Jolie’s announcement.

The actress also took the matter even further with a detailed writing of her decision and her operation.

“I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one that I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87% to under 5%,” she wrote reported NY Daily News.

Sue Shanley, acting director of the familial cancer clinic at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, said referrals to Australian clinics tripled in the month of Jolie’s story and had levelled off at about double the rate seen before 2013, suggesting an enduring effect.

“This may have lessened patients’ fears about a loss of sexual identity post preventative surgery and encouraged those who had not previously engaged with health services to consider genetic testing,” British Health Services wrote in the journal Breast Cancer Research.

Source: NY Daily News