Angelina Jolie’s Mastectomy: What You Should Know

Source: Dr. Jennifer Ashton / ABC News

By going public with her prophylactic double mastectomy, actress Angelina Jolie has again shone the spotlight on breast cancer and the genetic mutation known to increase the risk of getting it by 60 percent.

(Jolie wrote that her doctor told her she had an increased risk of 87 percent, adding that the risk is different for each woman. An NIH study found this number to be too high.)

Although Jolie, 37, has the potential to save lives by raising awareness, facts about testing for the mutation and undergoing preventative care can be confusing. Here’s what you need to know:

The test for the genetic mutation, called BRCA, is a simple blood test, but it’s not for everyone. It’s not always covered by insurance and can cost about $3,000, so you should know whether you’re one of the 2 percent of women who have a family history that makes them more likely to have the BRCA mutation.

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