Bravo to Angelina Jolie for her brave decision to let the world know about her choice to have a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of getting breast cancer. She said she made the choice to be tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations and found she had an 86% chance of getting breast cancer. Her mother died of cancer at the age of 56.
The test is a simple blood test. The aftermath is the tough part. If you have the mutations, a double mastectomy reduces your chances of getting breast cancer by 90 to 95 percent! Reconstructive surgery is usually done at the same time. For Angelina Jolie, this has been a three month process, but she can tell her six children that she has less than a 5% chance of breast cancer taking her away from them like it took her mother away from her.
How do you know if you should be tested? If you have a close family member (mother, sister, grandmother) who has had the disease you need to get tested. There is a very good chance your health care will cover the cost. And one of the things Angelina Jolie stressed is that reconstructive surgery has come a long way in the past few years.