BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With Angelina Jolie’s very personal decision to undergo a double mastectomy, cancer centers across the U.S. and in Baltimore are expecting to hear from more women who are ready to take their health into their own hands.
Mary Bubala reports.
At the breast center at Mercy Medical Center, the staff is expecting to hear from more women feeling empowered by Angelina Jolie’s decision to be incredibly proactive about her health.
“For any individual, the best thing is to be proactive,” said Dr. Gauri Bedi, Mercy Medical Center.
Dr. Gauri Bedi feels the effect of the Jolie announcement will be more women examining their family history of breast and ovarian cancer.
“You can inherit an abnormal BRCA gene, any gene from either your mother or your father. So the paternal, the father’s side history, is just as important as the maternal,” she said.
Thirty to fifty percent of women with the BRCA gene choose to have a double mastectomy after being told their risk of getting breast cancer is as high as eighty-five percent.
“I feel like it’s better to take control of the situation.” said Erin Fogarty.
The 30-year-old is just two weeks away from her surgery. She has the BRCA gene.
She watched her mother battle breast cancer and doesn’t want her daughters to have to do the same.
“I knew I was going to get the surgery because it just doesn’t make sense to me to live in fear of a diagnosis that you’re almost certainly going to get. Eighty-seven percent, that’s very close to a hundred percent, that’s too much for me,” she said.
Only two percent of the population has the BRCA gene. Most women face a twelve percent risk of breast cancer.
Angelina Jolie and other women who’ve had the surgery often reduce that risk to below five percent.