(KMOV.com) – A local doctor says Angelina Jolie made a “very smart decision” by having a double mastectomy.
Jolie announced it in an op-ed piece in the New York Times she carries a gene that makes it extremely likely that she would get breast cancer.
She said she had an 87 percent chance of getting breast cancer, but by having both breasts removed, her risk drops below five percent.
Many woman have chosen preventive mastecomy since genetic screening was developed. Dr. David Caplin, founding member of Gateway to Hope, says the information puts patients to tough decisions, and they need to be prepared.
“If you’re going to be gene tested you really have to decide what you’re going to do with that information,” he said. There are some medications you can take that may decrease your risk of developing breast cancer, but the most effective way to treat patients with this gene mutation would be prophylactic mastectomy- removing the breasts before breast cancer has a chance to develop.”
Genetic testing can cost several thousand dollars, and insurance will cover it in some cases.
Gateway to Hope works with uninsured and underinsured women to help test for, prevent and treat breast cancer. The organization covers the cost for gene testing for those who qualify.