Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy: should women at risk consider genetic testing?

Medisys' Genetic Counsellor, Katherine Hodson, addresses the subject

MONTREAL, May 23, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Given the recent publication of the op-ed piece by Angelina Jolie in the New York Times regarding her preventive double mastectomy, many people may have questions regarding their own risk for breast cancer and genetic testing.

A few facts about cancer and genetics:

  • Breast cancer is common; approximately 1 in 9 women (11%) will develop the disease in her lifetime, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
  • The vast majority of breast cancer cases occur by chance and are not the result of genetic factors.
  • Although rare, inherited changes in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which is the case for Ms. Jolie, are linked to a high lifetime risk of breast, ovarian and other specific cancers.
  • Genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 is not recommended for everyone. A genetic counsellor may recommend it when there is a strong family history of a type of cancer which is known to be linked to these genes.

If you are concerned:

Anyone who is concerned about their family history of cancer should speak with their doctor about the option of meeting with a genetic counsellor. Genetic counsellors are health professionals trained in family history assessment, genetics and counselling. A genetic counsellor can assess a patient's need for genetic testing and provide counselling support if such is the case.

Cancer prevention and screening:

If you have a family history of cancer, it is important to discuss this with your doctor, as specific cancer screening and early detection measures may be appropriate.

About Medisys

At Medisys, our mission is to help corporations and individuals improve their health and prevent any health issues before they become medical problems with innovative technologies, approaches and services. Through our national network of facilities, including offices in Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, we offer expertise in Executive Health, Occupational Health, Wellness, and Travel Health. We also provide a wide range of specialty services that include genetic counselling, cardiology, pediatric health and telephone medical assistance and support. Together with our team of medical specialists and professionals, Medisys has taken the healthcare needs of its clients to heart for over 25 years.

SOURCE: Medisys Corporate Health LP

For further information:

For media inquiries, please contact:
Medisys
Larissa Mooij, Communications and Public Relations Coordinator
514-499-2777 ext. 3352
larissa.mooij@medisys.ca