Jolie's Disclosure of Preventive Mastectomy Highlights Dilemma


May 28, 2013

Media Roundup Update: May 28, 2013

No Quick or Easy Choices

In continuing coverage spurred by actress Angelina Jolie's disclosure that she underwent a prophylactic mastectomy to reduce her risk of cancer after learning she carries the BRCA1 mutation, Susan Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA, is quoted in a New York Times article exploring the decisions women must face after learning they are at increased risk. The many treatment options and the persistent uncertainties about which is appropriate to an individual patient mean that decisions about preventive mastectomy, the Times writes, have not grown easier, only harder. Many physicians are concerned that women, especially those traumatized by loss of a family member to cancer, may make hasty choices. "We have had a rush of phone calls coming in with this idea, 'Should I be getting my mastectomy?'" Domchek said. "But every surgical procedure comes with potential complications, and we need to attempt to balance the risk and benefit."

New York Times article

The Angelina Effect

Susan Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA in the Abramson Cancer Center, was interviewed on MSNBC about the news that actress Angelina Jolie carries the harmful BRCA 1 mutation, which led her to undergo a prophylactic mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer. These gene mutations are very uncommon in the general population, Domchek notes, but family history is an important indicator to help determine which individuals should undergo testing.

MSNBC segment

Angelina Jolie's Double Mastectomy: What to Know About the "Faulty" Gene

In continuing coverage of Oscar-winning actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie's disclosure that she recently underwent a prophylactic mastectomy after learning she carries a BRCA gene mutation, Susan Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA in the Abramson Cancer Center, is a featured expert in People magazine's coverage of the cancer risks conferred by those mutations. Domchek explains who is most at risk and some of the options for preventing cancer among women and men who have BRCA mutations. "The best defense is to talk to your doctor and develop a plan of action," she says. Domchek also authored a Q&A on CNN.com addressing common questions about genetic testing and cancer risk.

People magazine article

Related Story: "American Idol, Kara DioGuardi, shares her experience as a BRCA carrier"


Media Roundup: May 15, 2013


Jolie's Disclosure of Preventive Mastectomy Highlights Dilemma

Actress Angelina Jolie's announcement that she underwent a prophylactic mastectomy to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer after learning that she carries a BRCA gene mutation has focused attention on the decisions faced by women who have a large genetic risk of developing cancer and the science aimed at finding new solutions to prevent cancer among this group of patients, whose lifetime risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is as high as 85 percent. Susan Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Research Center for BRCA, was quoted extensively in news coverage of Jolie's announcement, including in front page stories in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Boston Globe. "Women need better choices," she told the Boston Globe. "We shouldn't think that these surgical preventions have fixed the problem. They're just a temporary solution." Researchers in the Basser Center are focused, for instance, on developing medications and vaccines that target a mutation in the BRCA gene. She was also quoted in Bloomberg News and CNN.com articles and in various other outlets, along with genetic counselors Jill Stopfer, MS, CGC, and Jacquelyn Powers, MS, and an Abramson Cancer Center patient who shared her story about undergoing preventive surgeries to reduce her cancer risk. Visit Basser Research Center to learn more.

New York Times article
Bloomberg News article
Boston Globe article
CNN article
Philadelphia Inquirer article
6ABC article
KYW NewsRadio article
Marie Claire article
MedCity News article
Delaware News Journal article