Dr. Oz: Angelina Jolie Cancer Prevention Surgery
Angelina Jolie shocked the world when she got a preventive double mastectomy because she had a certain gene that made her more likely to get breast cancer. Since the news of her procedure, genetic screening for breast cancer has doubled. Dr. Oz wanted people to know whether genetic cancer screening was right for them.
Dr. Oz: Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer
For answers, Dr. Oz talked to breast cancer survivor, oncologist, and founder of breastcancer.org Dr. Marisa Weisss about the the effect Angelina Jolie has had on women. She said that it’s dramatically effected the way women approach breast cancer. She opened up the conversation with genetic testing and preventative measures for breast cancer.
Dr. Weiss added that on the heels of her disclosure, the Supreme Court removed the patent for breast cancer gene testing, allowing many other companies to be able to offer testing at a lower price. In the short time since Angelina told her story, there’s been an explosion of new information about a whole bunch of cancer genes to help take care of women in preventative ways.
Breast cancer genetic testing isn’t a fad, it’s a very smart move, Dr. Weiss said. She said that a lot of women and some men are looking at their family histories and seeking questions.
Dr. Oz: Who Should Get Tested?
Who should get tested? Dr. Weiss said that if cancer runs in your family, you might want to consider this test. Look for not just breast cancer, but melanoma, pancreatic, ovarian cancer, and other cancers as well. Look at not just women in your family, but men as well.
The test can be done as a simple blood test or as a test where you swish a chemical in your mouth and spit into a container. The mini-test costs around $500 or $600, but the full spectrum gene tests cost between $3,000 and $5,000. If you qualify, most insurance companies cover this test.
Dr. Weiss said that these tests are important. If you have one of these genes, your risk of breast cancer can be as high as 87 percent and your risk of ovarian cancer can go up to 40 percent. The good news is that there’s a lot you can do with this information. She said it’s the best way to plan, prevent, detect, and treat cancer so you can have a full and great life.
Dr. Oz: Should Women Be Getting Double Mastectomies?
Dr. Weiss said that Angelina’s double mastectomy lowered her risk of breast cancer by over 90 percent. Sometimes, double mastectomies are beneficial in this way. But only 5 to 10 percent of women who get breast cancer have one of those single-inherited genes that produce a high risk. Dr. Weiss said that a double mastectomy may not increase your chances of survival. Make sure to ask your doctor and do your research before making any decisions.