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Angelina Jolie Helped Double The Number Of British Women Getting Tested For Breast Cancer

After the actress announced her double mastectomy in May 2013, record numbers of women were referred to breast cancer clinics in the UK.

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Referrals to breast cancer clinics have more than doubled since Angelina Jolie announced her double mastectomy in May last year, the BBC reported. The phenomenon has been dubbed "the Angelina Jolie effect".

"The Angelina Jolie effect has been long-lasting and global, and appears to have increased referrals to centres appropriately," Professor Gareth Evans of the University of Manchester told the BBC.
Luke Macgregor / Reuters

"The Angelina Jolie effect has been long-lasting and global, and appears to have increased referrals to centres appropriately," Professor Gareth Evans of the University of Manchester told the BBC.

Jolie made her announcement in an article for The New York Times in which she said that after being tested for a BRCA1 gene mutation, she "had an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer".

"Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimise the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex."

In the June and July following the article, the number of GP referrals for DNA tests and genetic counselling is said to have increased by two and a half times compared to the same months in 2012.

It was also revealed In the study, published in the Breast Cancer Research journal, that referrals stayed at twice the previous year's amount in August through October.

Evans said Jolie's announcement was "likely to have had a bigger impact than other celebrity announcements", possibly because of "her image as a glamorous and strong woman".

"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," he said.
Handout / Reuters

"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," he said.

Thank you, Angelina!

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You can read the rest of the study's findings over at the BBC.