Today Show: Angelina Jolie Double Mastectomy & BRCA 1 BRCA 2 Gene Test

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Today Show: Angelina Jolie Gets Double Mastectomy  

Today Show: Angelina Jolie Double Mastectomy & BRCA 1 BRCA 2 Gene Test

Angelina Jolie recently underwent a double mastectomy. (image credit: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com)

Angelina Jolie got a double mastectomy back in February, and she went public with the news recently. The Today Show brought in Dr. Alexandra Heerdt, a breast surgeon, to talk about double mastectomies and who should get them.

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Only a very small percentage of women that carry BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 – the gene mutations that considerably increase your chance of getting breast cancer – would be in a position to get this procedure. Even people whose mothers had breast cancer are under little risk to have this mutation.

The test for this gene can be very expensive, so the decision to get the test shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, Dr. Heerdt does say that this test will be covered by insurance if it’s deemed appropriate, so you can speak to your physician and get counsel on whether or not the test is for you.

Angelina Jolie Underwent Three Months Of Surgery

Though three months sounds like a humongous amount of time to be under the knife, Dr. Alexandra Heerdt said that three months is the typical amount of time for one to undergo this procedure. This procedure is not as easy as some of the cosmetic breast procedures that are done. This is a multi-step procedure that brings with it many implications, so the decision to get one should not be made lightly.

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Getting Double Mastectomy Too Soon

One of the better sides to this is that a woman does not need to lose the entire breast during a double mastectomy. Nowadays, the nipple can often be spared and implant technology has gotten much better.

Despite these developments, there has been some discussion in the medical community as to whether some women, Angelina Jolie not included, are too quick to get a double mastectomy. Dr. Alexandra Heerdt said that in these cases some are magnifying their risk to breast cancer and need to sit down with their physician and really discuss how big of a risk they really have.

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