Angelina and breast cancer copycat surge: Doctor warns patients are requesting double mastectomies even if they don’t need one
After Miss Jolie, 38, who is in a high-risk cancer category, announced this year she had had a double mastectomy, a surge of women in the UK have sought to follow suit.
A quarter of women who develop cancer in one breast are now asking for both to be removed, according to figures from the London Breast Institute.
But Professor Kefah Mokbel of the London Breast Institute has said surgery would be pointless for women who are not in the same category as Jolie.
Studies show that the occurrence of breast cancer may be reduced by 90 per cent or more after preventive mastectomy in women with a high risk of this disease.
Miss Jolie received praise after announcing her decision to have both breasts removed following the deaths of her aunt from breast cancer and her mother from ovarian cancer.
London Breast Institute figures showed genetic testing for BRCA mutations at their clinic had risen by 67 per cent since Jolie went public, and preventative mastectomies have risen fourfold.
Professor Mokbel said the ‘fear factor’ had led some patients to ask for preventative surgery and that there was a danger of over-treatment.
Fewer than one per cent of women carry the faulty BRCA1 gene – like Miss Jolie – or BRCA2 gene, which is very similar.
Professor Mokbel warned patients can suffer psychological harm after having radical surgery.