Published On: Sun, Sep 21st, 2014

Prolonged “Angelina effect ‘on breast cancer

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The number of women who have requested information about this tumor has doubled in the UK. In Spain there are no figures, but have also increased which have requested advice

In May 2013 actress Angelina Jolie announced that she had undergone a double mastectomy because it carries a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, the gene that predisposes to breast cancer. After singer Anastacia said she had also been subjected to this intervention because of their risk of breast cancer. Since then, what some called the ” Angelina effect “in UK have doubled the number of queries and genetic breast cancer test, says a study published in” Breast Cancer Research “.

Research has gathered information from a database of 21 centers and shows that many more women have gone to their doctors to consult their doubts on this subject. The good news is that most of them had real reasons -Background familiares- for medical consultation. In fact, the document underwent many tests and genetic advice because they need it and had not created, as was thought at first, an unwanted effect.

Genetic Mutation

The BRCA1 mutation is inherited from one parent and is the cause of at least 10% of breast cancers. Women who are carriers of this mutation are between 45% and 90% risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime . The guidelines recommend that if you have a family history of breast cancer and a relative with breast cancer need to receive genetic counseling. In the UK, shortly after Angelina Jolie announced his decision, a document which recommends that only women who are at risk of developing breast cancer should be referred for genetic testing was published.

What this work shows is that the impact of the announcement Jolie was not transient, but many women still months after Looking for information on this topic. Specifically, in this study a twofold increase in consultations regarding genetic counseling in cancer mana can be seen when compared with the same period last year, 2012.

Researchers believe that the announcement of Angelina Jolie has left many people more aware of the risks of a family history of cancer and what strategies can be adopted to mitigate risks. “It is possible that if Angelina Jolie has had a bigger impact than other known cases, probably because of its glamorous image and strong woman,” says Gareth Evans, author of the work. Your message adds reduced many patients’ fears about the loss of ” sexual identity after surgery and has encouraged many women to learn about this subject. ”

“Jolie’s case is to be applauded,” says ABC Begoña Grana, the Hereditary Cancer Section of the Spanish Society Oncologí to (SEOM). But he qualifies, its impact has been much greater in whites than in Mediterranean countries such as Spain.

The problem in assessing the ‘Angeline effect’ in our country is that there are no comprehensive databases. “If we have seen an increased interest and awareness of breast cancer”, says this expert. Similarly review is Ana Patiño, the Clinical Genetics Unit of the University Hospital of Navarra (CUN): “We have received a higher ‘ murmur social ‘on this issue, “he says. “And not among women, but among our medical colleagues.”

The expert from the CUN underlines the fact that thanks to “effect Angeline” many women know that there are preventative treatments to prevent cancer if they have risk. “And I do not mean only the removal of the breast, but something that is unknown, but also important, which is the removal of the ovaries . ” Because, Grana notes, although the hereditary breast cancer and ovarian cancer are closely related, many people are unaware. And, he stresses, “but extirpase both breasts can be a preventive alternative, which has been shown to increase survival in these patients is surgery ovaries.”

Patiño explains that 80% of cancer cases are sporadic; the remaining 20%, 15% is familiar, “although no identified genetic causes,” and 5% is hereditary: two genes associated mainly BRAC1 and BRAC2, but also Check2 and PALB2 . Genetic tests are done to identify the first two genes, but also the other two in some centers like Patino. Now, Grana said, “we need to identify what people are candidates for genetic testing.”

Defined criteria

And that there are defined criteria: having a case of breast cancer under 40 years of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in the same patient, at any age ; two or more cases of breast cancer, one diagnosed with less than 50 years or bilateral mamas–both; one case of breast diagnosed with less than 50 years or bilateral cancer, and ovarian cancer in a first or second degree; three cases of breast or ovarian cancer (at least one ovary), in first or second degree; two cases of ovarian cancer in first or second degree, and one case of male breast cancer, and one case of breast cancer (they male or female) or ovarian cancer in a first or second degree.

And if the results are positive, says Grana, an oncologist at the University Hospital of A Coruña , in addition to preventive measures, you should evaluate ” the psychological impact: not everyone is ready to talk about risks . ” Although preventive treatment must be individualized in each case, the experts point out that the treatments mastectomy and ovarian surgery can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 80% to 2%. Although we do not know how durable, adds Grana, the “Jolie effect” has had ” more impact than does the daily work of many physicians

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