Angelina Jolie's 'Jewish Gene' Breast Cancer Surgery Saves Lives, Doctor Says

Flood of Women Seeking Test for BRCA Mutation

Still Stunning: Angelina Jolie smiles for fans at a movie premiere in London. The Hollywood superstar was making her first appearance since she announced she underwent a double mastectomy over breast cancer fears.
getty images
Still Stunning: Angelina Jolie smiles for fans at a movie premiere in London. The Hollywood superstar was making her first appearance since she announced she underwent a double mastectomy over breast cancer fears.

By Forward Stafff

Published October 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo double mastectomy is saving lives as more women seek to be tested for the ‘Jewish gene’ mutation that caused her breast cancer, her plastic surgeon says.

The Hollywood superstar’s cosmetic surgeon, speaking out for the first time since the Oscar winner revealed her procedure five months ago, told the Daily News that many women who never knew about the silent killer are now being tested.

“I’m seeing in my practice already women who are saying, ‘I was inspired by that to get gene testing,’” said Beverly HIlls surgeon Dr. Jay Orringer, who performed Jolie’s reconstruction, told the paper. “I think it’s going to have a tremendously lasting impact.”

The stunning Jolie, Hollywood’s highest paid actress and a United Nations humanitarian, announced in May that she had endured three months of procedures to have both breasts removed because of her high genetic risk of breast cancer.

Jolie carries the BRCA gene mutation that leads to dramatically higher rates of breast cancer. Although she is not Jewish, the deadly mutation is especially common among Ashkenazi Jewish women.

Jolie tested positive for a harmful mutation in one of the BRCA genes, making her about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who do not carry this mutation, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Mutations in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer by 60 to 80 percent.

Jolie’s risk was amplified by the fact that her mother died from breast cancer at age 56, raising the stakes that she could have a cancer at a younger age.

Jolie said she underwent the surgery to spare her children from the agony she witnessed as her mother struggled with breast cancer for a decade.

That is the case for many women who seek out genetic counseling, said Dr. Susan Klugman, director of reproductive genetics at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, who has done BRCA testing on thousands of women. Klugman said counselors help women work through what it would mean to learn they are positive for the gene.

With Reuters


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.