Knowledge is Powerful

Published on July 31, 2015

Updated on January 12, 2018

Angelina Jolie Pitt

The Prevent Cancer Foundation has campaigned for cancer screenings for 30 years. These screening tests are integral to early detection, and early detection leads to saving lives. Combined results from randomized screening trials suggest that mammograms reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer by 15% to 20%, while studies of modern mammogram screening programs in Europe found that the risk of breast cancer death was reduced by more than one-third. When detected early, the 5-year survival rate of breast cancer is 99%.

Knowledge is powerful.

When Angelina Jolie Pitt chose to undergo a double mastectomy two years ago, she did so armed with the knowledge of her family history and the results of a blood test for the BRCA “breast cancer” gene. Her doctor used this information to determine her cancer risk— an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. Following the surgery, she continued to get screened for ovarian cancer based on her risk due to family history.

Knowledge is powerful.

With the results of her recent screening, Mrs. Jolie Pitt had more options that she would discuss with her physicians and surgeons. She made the decision to have her ovaries removed. While her choice to have surgery is not for everyone, it is key that she had all the necessary information and, with the help of her doctors, she could choose what to do with it.

Remember that preventive surgery is not for everyone; our goal at the Prevent Cancer Foundation is that you get an annual mammogram (based on your age and personal risk factors), discuss your family history with your health care professional and make a plan with your doctor for any additional tests.

We applaud Mrs. Jolie Pitt for sharing her story and bringing these issues to the forefront of public conversation. It is only by talking about it that we can help other women understand the importance of screening.

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