A BREAST surgeon at Queen Alexandra Hospital has welcomed Angelina Jolie’s decision to go public about her double mastectomy.
The Hollywood A-lister wrote a piece in the New York Times explaining that she had decided to have the procedure as she carries the ‘faulty’ gene, BRCA1, which increases her risk of developing breast cancer to 87 per cent. Her mother died from breast cancer aged 56.
Constantinos Yiangou is a consultant breast surgeon at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham and says Ms Jolie’s move has helped bring the issue into the spotlight. He is urging women with a family history of breast cancer to get their risks assessed at a clinic run in QA, by getting referred from their GP.
Mr Yiangou said: ‘It’s positive Angelina Jolie has come forward.
‘We would urge women to get checked if they have family history.
‘At the clinic, women fill in a questionnaire about their family history.
‘They then fall into either a low, moderate or high risk category.
‘If they are high risk, they will be offered genetic testing to see if there is a faulty gene.’
The test looks for either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene.
If it found, women are then given the option to have a mastectomy – the removal of a breast – in order to prevent cancer.
Last year, around 100 women were referred to the clinic.
Of that figure, fewer than 10 women were advised to have a risk-reducing mastectomy.
BBC South Today presenter Sally Taylor had a double mastectomy in 1999.
She is also encouraging women to get checked.
She said: ‘It’s very positive that Angelina Jolie has spoken, as it gives the message that women can make a change.
‘I had my surgery in 1999 because of my family history, and I don’t even think about it any more.’