Actress Angelina Jolie is making headlines again.
She is one of the most followed women in the world but Jolie was keeping a secret. Tuesday she shared it with the world, announcing she carries the faulty breast cancer gene that killed her mom. Genetic testing proved it.
In a moving op-ed in the New York Times, Jolie said: “Once I knew this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy.”
The mother of six says she did it for her children and added: “I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience.”
Her decision to have a double mastectomy slashed her breast cancer risk from 87 percent to under 5 percent.
Many women asking should they get tested too? KHON2 went to the Queen’s Medical Center to find out if Hawaii offers such an option and at what price.
“We do have genetic counseling at Queen’s Medical Center and other centers locally and it’s something that really is available to anyone,” said Queen’s Medical Center genetic counselor Allison Taylor Shykowski.
Kapiolani and Tripler Medical Centers are also sites to get the testing done.
It’s a simple blood draw or mouth rinse to collect your DNA and test for the BRCA, breast cancer gene.
“It is an expensive test in the range of $4,000, is the full cost. But there is quite good insurance coverage for it if you meet certain criteria,” said Shykowski.
Women and even men with a family history of breast cancer are candidates.
Jolie chose surgery to manage her cancer risk. Other options are available including cancer screening.
Jolie wrote: “For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options.”