(Cleveland)- Angelina Jolie says she's had a preventative double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that makes it extremely likely she'll get breast cancer.
The 37-year-old authored an op-ed for Tuesday’s New York Times where she writes that in April she finished three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts. She says she made the choice after her mother died of breast cancer at age 56, and after doctors told her she had an 87 percent chance of contracting it herself.
University hospitals Dr. Robert Shenk says the preventative procedure is recommended for patients who carry the breast cancer gene mutation which affects only about five to seven percent of breast cancers in the United States.
The genetic test to see if you have the gene is covered by insurance if you have a specific family history. The history may include ovarian cancer and family members getting breast cancer young in three generations. If insurance doesn't cover the test, it can cost at least $3,000.
He believes this will remind women of the importance of getting regular breast exams and taking action but Dr. Shenk is also worried many women will run out to get tested when they don't need it and waste their money.
Regular breast exams are recommended annually for women starting at the age of 40.
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