[ASC-list] Angelina effect

Susan Kirk skirk at iprimus.com.au
Tue Nov 12 23:27:11 UTC 2013

Now to me this also rings alarm bells and raises many questions.  Firstly.
Surgery is the only option?  Or a life of medication?  What about the cost
burden, and I don¹t mean for saving lives, I mean testing for the gene.  The
headline is sensational to say the least.  The fact that people listen to
celebrities even more than their own GP's is again pretty astonishing, but
also revealing especially for marketers, but then they already know that.
And the benefit to the cancer society?  Of course how dare I even think
that, but I do... 


Media Release
Embargoed to 13 November, 2013
ŒAngelina effect¹ saving Australian lives
Adelaide: A scientific conference of cancer experts will hear today (13/11)
how referrals to cancer genetic clinics have doubled since Angelina Jolie
announced her risk-reducing mastectomy.
According to Mary-Anne Young from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre,
Victoria, more than 94% of the referrals are people categorised as either
high or medium risk of having a genetic predisposition to cancer. ³The
majority of the referrals we¹re getting, around 80%, are related to a family
history of breast and ovarian cancer,² Ms Young said.
Presenting at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia¹s (COSA¹s) Annual
Scientific Meeting, Ms Young said referrals trebled in the immediate
aftermath of Angelina Jolie¹s story and have remained at double the previous
volume since then. 
In the six weeks prior to Angelina Jolie announcing that she carried the
Œfaulty¹ BRCA1 gene, genetics clinics in NSW, Vic and SA received 340
referrals. In the six weeks after her announcement, there were 760.
³These patients can now receive genetic counselling and testing if
appropriate, and discuss strategies to reduce their risk,² Ms Young said.
BRCA1/2 carriers like Angelina Jolie are at a significantly greater risk of
developing breast and ovarian cancer than the general population. Options to
reduce the risk of breast cancer include regular screening, risk reducing
medication e.g. tamoxifen or preventive mastectomy. Surgery is currently the
only option to reduce ovarian cancer risk.
COSA President, Associate Professor Sandro Porceddu, said around 5% of the
15,000 breast and ovarian cancer cases diagnosed in Australia each year were
due to an inherited gene.
³Being aware of a genetic risk means patients are more likely to either
avoid cancer or detect it at an earlier stage when treatment is more likely
to be successful,² Prof Porceddu said. ³Ultimately, this greater awareness
of genetic risk will save lives.²
Anyone with a strong family history should speak to their GP. Women between
50 and 69 years old are encouraged to attend screening every two years (free
screening is also available to women aged 40-49 and over 69 on request.)
1Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Vic, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Prince of
Wales Hospital, NSW, Westmead Hospital NSW, Familial Cancer Services, South
Glen Turner on 0412 443 212 or glen.turner at cancer.org.au
<mailto:glen.turner at cancer.org.au>
Rosannah Snelson on 0439 428 004 or rosannah.snelson at cancer.org.au
<mailto:rosannah.snelson at cancer.org.au>

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