We know the power of breast cancer screenings like 3D mammography. Genetic testing for breast cancer is another tool in the fight. When megastar and humanitarian activist Angelina Jolie Pitt spoke out in 2013 about testing positive for the BRCA1 gene, making her very likely to develop breast and/or ovarian cancer, she made waves worldwide by publicly sharing her decision to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy.
“Her honesty and advocacy have made a real difference for women,” says Dr. Sharon Mass, OBGYN and our special medical correspondent. “Because she’s well-known and respected, when she started talking about genetic screening and the surgery, it became mainstream, not this hush-hush, scary thing. Thanks to her, women started talking about it with their own physicians,” Dr. Mass says. In fact, a new study showed that one-fifth of the participants said Angelina’s case made them “deal more intensively with the topic of breast cancer.”