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Jolie Effect Is Real: Surge in Women Getting Breast Checks

Update Date: Sep 19, 2014 06:11 PM EDT
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Following Angelina Jolie's announcement of risk-reducing double mastectomy in May 2013, UK witnessed a surge in women rushing to get their breasts health evaluated.

The actress's announcement is being attributed to two and half times increase in number of women who went for checks during last June and July when compared to numbers during the corresponding months in 2012. The findings were collated based on data collected from 21 centers and have been published in the Breast Cancer Research journal.

Jolie revealed last year that she had undergone surgery after she tested positive for BRCA 1 mutation that is associated with an increased breast cancer risk of around 45 to 90 percent.

"Data from 12 family history clinics and 9 regional genetics services showed a rise in referrals from May 2013 onwards. Referrals were nearly 2.5 fold in June and July 2013 from 1,981 (2012) to 4,847 (2013). Demand for BRCA1/2 testing almost doubled and there were also many more enquiries for risk reducing mastectomy. Internal review shows that there was no increase in inappropriate referrals," researcher said while concluding 'Angelina Jolie Effect was long lasting and global.

The Angelina effect was also seen in October 2013 when researchers reported a two-fold increase in numbers over previous year.

It was found that most women who arrived for checks were those who had a family history of breast cancer, while many were behind schedule for their checks, contrary to the presumption that Jolie's announcement would have created unfounded concerns.

Experts working to create cancer awareness claimed they had heard of the actress's announcement resonating with many women, but had not seen evidence until now.

"We have heard anecdotally that referrals to family history and genetics services had increased since Angelina Jolie's announcement but it's interesting to see evidence support this," Sally Greenbrook senior policy officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer told Daily Mail.

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