Breast Cancer Prevention
Actress Angelina Jolie is single handedly shining a spotlight on both breast cancer and a radical procedure to reduce the risk.
Jolie has announced that she had a double mastectomy.
That's after taking a test that showed she had an 87 percent risk of contracting breast cancer.
The average woman has a 12 percent chance of getting breast cancer, but there are other women who are at higher risk and theres a test to prove it.
"It's just a simple blood test. It's one tube of blood and we have a kit that we have to open up and we put in all your information about your personal history of cancer and your family history of cancer," said Dr. Laura Dickerson.
Dr. Dickerson, a medical oncologist with Florida Cancer Specialists, said not everyone can afford it.
"It is a very expensive test. A little over $3,000 and not everyone can get it done. You have to meet a specific criteria in order for it to be covered by your insurance," said Dr. Dickerson.
Dr. Dickerson said if you do test positive for the Brca gene mutation, then prevention can start early.
"The benefit of getting this test if you qualify for it is that it will tell you if you have a high risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer and if you have this high risk then you can be proactive about it and do something about it," said Dickerson.
There are a couple of options you can choose from after testing positive.
You can have frequent mammograms, MRI's, ultrasounds of the breasts or have surgery.
Even though a double mastectomy reduces your chances of getting breast cancer to at least five percent, Dickerson said the procedure is not for everyone.
"The recommendation we give are depending on the persons age. If a woman comes to me who is already say 70 years old and she is well passed the average age of 42 we would recommend in her to do some more close surveillance," said Dickerson.
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