What doctors thinks about 'Jolie effect'

What doctors thinks about 'Jolie effect'

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Angelina Jolie announced Tuesday she had her ovaries removed after a doctor detected possible signs of cancer.

Doctors in Region 8 can perform this same surgery.

Some women are choosing to have the operation as part of the 'Jolie effect'.

Dr. Carroll Scroggin, oncologist at NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, said he commends Jolie for sharing her story with the world.

He said it helps shed light on this major health issue.

Dr. Mazen Khalil, medical oncologist at St. Bernards Hospital, said patients have asked him about this surgery.

"It's not 100% proof of preventing cancer," Khalil said.

"But that risk is much lower than they would have before having the surgery," Scroggin said.

Doctors say the brave women who remove their ovaries or breasts fight for their own health.

Jolie's surgery was an option for a woman who is positive for the genetic mutation BRCA 1 or 2.

"Women who have this mutation have a high cumulative lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, about 80%," Scroggin said. "Also, about a cumulative risk of developing ovarian cancer about 40% to 60%."

Those at risk for the gene have a family history of cancer or already have breast cancer.

A mouth swab or blood test can be done to find out if a women has the gene.

Dr. Khalil said it's never too early to talk to you doctor about your family history or a cancer concern.

"A lot of discussion of what is each individuals risk and what's their priority, and what could or could not be done," Khalil said.

Some Region 8 women said thanks to Jolie, they are more aware of genetic testing and this type of surgery.

"I think it's wonderful," Wanda Cochrell said. "I think all women should have it done if they have any problems at all."

But others think the surgery is excessive.

"Quit trying to take matters into your own hands," Robin Gehring said. "Let do course do its thing. It's way too much."

Nicole Lee said she supports the decision, but all in all cancer can happen in parts of the body other than the breast and ovaries.

If she were faced with the decision, though, she said she would do have the surgery if she could afford it.

Getting the genetic test can be pricey, and insurance doesn't always cover it.

Doctors said that is why every patient's circumstance is different.

As for the surgery to remove the ovaries, it is a simple procedure that can be done with a laparoscopic procedure.

Whether those support this prevention method or not, Scoggin said it is educating women on what options are out there.

"Informed decision on the best thing to help prevent cancer from developing, and by doing this we can save lives," Scroggin said.

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