When Angelina Jolie announced in a May 2013 New York Times opinion editorial that she’d had her breasts removed, she brought global attention to a serious health issue.
The gene that Jolie is a carrier of, the faulty BRCA 1 gene, along with BRCA 2, is the responsible for producing tumour suppressor proteins. For those with this genetic mutation, including men, there’s up to an 85 per cent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer and a 20 to 40 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer. In Jolie’s case, she was told that she had an 87 per cent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer—a risk that could be eliminated with preventative mastectomies.
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