Women's Issues

Angelina Jolie’s Genetic Testing Inspires Others To Do The Same And Makes Us Love Her Even More

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We all know that Angelina Jolie is basically an amazing human being and she proves it again with new information suggesting that her revealing that she underwent a double mastectomy due to the results of her genetic testing has inspired others to have the test done.The fact that Angelina Jolie’s genetic testing inspires others to do the same makes her a hero in my eyes. She did not have to reveal what she went through but in doing so, she has potentially saved the lives of millions of women around the world by making the testing she underwent more mainstream to the point where the average woman would ask to have it performed.

A recent study of women in Britain as profiled on Reuters shows an amazing trend:

Jolie, 39, who has become a high-profile human rights campaign, announced her surgery in May last year, saying she acted after testing positive for a mutation of the BRCA1 gene that significantly increases the risk of breast cancer.

She said she was going public with news of her surgery as she hoped her story would inspire other women to fight the life-threatening disease.

Researchers studied 21 clinics and regional genetic centers and found there were 4,847 referrals for testing in June and July last year compared to 1,981 in the same period of 2012

The study of the so-called “Angelina effect”, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, credited Jolie’s glamorous appearance and relationship with Hollywood actor Brad Pitt for helping to lessen women’s fears about surgery.

 

That is so incredible. Now, 4,847 women have control of their fate with breast and ovarian cancers rather than being caught off-guard and being forced to undergo cancer treatments, or even lose their lives. What an amazing impact Angelina has had on the world with her decision to share her journey with others.

Sadly, my family has a lot of experience with the topic of female cancers and the resulting surgeries and while I cannot say that Jolie’s revelations were the reason I had the testing done, I can say that while I waited for the results, she was a big inspiration and comfort to me. I was terrified of not only the implications of a positive BRCA test in regard to my health but also, what it would mean for my femininity and my appearance. I remember tearfully Googling about a million different things while waiting for my test results and one of them was an image search of Angelina, post-double mastectomy and reconstruction. Seeing her looking amazing and confident on the red carpet truly made me feel better while contemplating my own fate. If she could do it and come out the other side, so could I.

Fortunately, my BRCA result was negative- I did not have to go through with any surgeries and I was able to breathe one of the biggest sighs of relief in my life so far. I am still in amazement and so totally appreciative of what Angelina has done for the topic of female cancers. She shed light on something that a lot of people are not comfortable discussing and forced many women to have a conversation with their doctor that they may not have had ordinarily. She removed the stigma and made the whole thing a little less scary. She did not have to tell the world about what she went through- she could have kept the entire thing totally private. To me, she is a hero for sharing her incredibly personal health situation with the rest of the world in hopes of inspiring others.

(Image: PAN Photo Agency/Shutterstock)