Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene'

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Angelina Jolie's revelation of her preventative double mastectomy is raising new fears as well as some reassurance. Even those who applaud her courage worry about over-reaction. In 1974, First Lady Betty Ford talked openly about her mastectomy, bringing the fears of every woman out into the open. Since then, much has changed, including the discovery of the BRCA 1 and 2 genes in 1994 and 95.  This week, international super-star Angelina Jolie revealed her decision to have both breasts removed — even though she did not yet have cancer – starting a new conversation about what to do if genetic testing shows a high risk for the disease. Experts say the most important lesson is that even the testing is not for everyone, let alone a double mastectomy. There’s concern that many women will demand more treatment than they need, partly because of the "pink ribbon" culture and the medical industry. We hear more about the agonizing decisions women might be faced with all on their own.

Banner image: TobyMelville/Reuters