A BREAST cancer expert based in Dorchester has spoken out in support of Hollywood star Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy.
The actress, whose mother died from ovarian cancer, revealed she had undergone the surgery after tests showed she had the BRCA1 breast cancer gene. Women who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes have between a 45 per cent and 90 per cent risk of developing breast cancer.
Consultant breast and melanoma surgeon Tomasz Graja, from BMI Winterbourne Hospital in the county town, said: “Ms Jolie’s decision to go public on her treatment has highlighted the problems that face women with a genetic risk of developing breast cancer.
“It is important to put the risk into perspective and I would emphasise that the risk of having the gene mutation is low and the genetic test need only be considered if there is a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer.”
He added: “I praise Ms Jolie for her bravery in publicly discussing her condition but I would encourage women in Dorchester and wider Dorset to understand that the majority of women who develop breast cancer, or who have a relative with breast cancer, do not have a BRCA mutation and will not need to consider having a preventative double mastectomy.
“Even if a woman does have a positive result, surgery is not the only option available.
“Increased surveillance with regular diagnostic tests can be an alternative option. If you are worried you should visit your GP for advice.”