Almost seven out of every ten women say they would undergo a preventive double mastectomy if tests indicated they were at a high risk of breast cancer
A new YouGov poll finds that nearly seven in 10 women in Britain would have a double mastectomy if genetic tests suggested they had a very high chance of developing breast cancer.
On Tuesday, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie announced in a widely reported editorial for the New York Times titled “My Medical Choice” that she had undergone a double mastectomy as a preventive measure against breast cancer. Jolie said that doctors estimated that she “had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer” due to a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which increases cancer risk.
68% of women say they would have all natural breast tissue removed and replaced with implants if genetic tests suggested a very high probability of developing breast cancer.
The YouGov survey also found that in identical proportions British women and men would undergo preventive surgery if tests suggested they were at a very high risk of a particular cancer. 70% of Britons say they would in principle undergo surgery to prevent the development of a cancer if tests suggested there was a very high chance of it developing, including 70% of men and 70% of women.
Asked if they would have genetic tests to screen for susceptibility towards particular types of cancer, and 64% of British adults say they would, including 62% of women and 66% of men.
One in five (21%) worry that there is a type of cancer they are particularly susceptible to because of family medical history.
Cancer killed an estimated 157,275 people in the UK in 2010 (the most recent year for which statistics are available) and breast cancer accounted for 15.7% of these deaths among women.
Jolie said in her article that she hoped her story would inspire women to get tested and remind them that they “have options”.