Grand Rapids doctor weighs in on the ‘Angelina Jolie effect’ on cancer awareness

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Local doctors are praising actress Angelina Jolie for raising awareness about cancer.

Jolie, who has publicly spoken out about having the BRCA1 genetic mutation, first made waves when she opted to have a double mastectomy in 2013.

Recently, she's made headlines again, this time for having her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.

Dr. Julian Schink, a gynecological oncologist with Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion in Grand Rapids, said he's seen an uptick in patients who want to be checked for the mutation since Jolie's announcements.

"Angelina Jolie has done a remarkable job about raising awareness about inherited or familial ovarian cancer, "Schink said.

Schink said the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations put people at an increased risk for both breast and ovarian cancer.

"If you have BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, it's important to have your fallopian tubes and ovaries removed once you've completed having children."

Schink said that should a person be diagnosed with breast cancer and learn they have either mutation, they should consider having both surgeries, since the mutations drastically increase that person's risk for getting both cancers.

People who have not been diagnosed with either form of cancer, but have a family history of them, should also be tested for the mutations, according to Dr. Schink.

"We would much rather prevent cancer than treat it and this is our opportunity to prevent it," Schink siad. "Angelina Jolie has shown us that you can do that and still be this vivacious woman, actress, civic leader...public spokesperson."

 

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2 comments

  • kMars

    The Jolie Effect story failed to include the cost of testing and costs of surgery if indicated. Will health insurance companies pay for the testing/surgery? More than likely not. Encouraging people to rush out to get tested – without advising to check with health insurance first— oops!

  • James Henrick

    This is the most most uneducated and most irresponsible thing I have ever read:

    “If you have BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, it’s important to have your fallopian tubes and ovaries removed once you.”

    EVERYONE has a BRCA 1/2 gene, as it is part of the human genome. What the “expert” above is referring to is a so-called ‘mutation,’ or more accurately, single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) or gene variation.

    Please educate yourselves: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/brca-breast-cancer-gene-death-sentence

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