Doctor discusses breast cancer after actress has mastectomy - CBS46 News

Doctor discusses cancer after Angelina Jolie undergoes double mastectomy

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Angelina Jolie is beautiful, talented and appears to live the perfect life. But little did the public know Jolie was living with an internal threat that could end her life. Jolie announced she carries a faulty gene BRCA1. It's a genetic marker linked to breast cancer.

"The breast cancer ovarian gene tells the woman if she is at risk of getting breast cancer in the future," said Dr. Anita Johnson.

Johnson is the medical director of breast surgical oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan, GA.

"This is the most common gene that we test for breast cancer or ovarian cancer. The chances of a person having the gene is less than 7 percent."

Johnson said someone who has the gene has a near 90 percent chance of getting breast cancer. She said the only way to know for sure is to know your family history and get checked out by your doctor.

"Women who have been diagnosed, who are 50 and younger, women who have triple negative breast cancer, if you are a male with breast cancer, you need to get tested. If your family members and certain of Jewish decent have breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer, you should get tested," said Johnson.

Johnson said if you carry the gene, you don't have to get a mastectomy right away.

"If they are not ready to make that decision right away, we can always offer them surveillance where they see a physician every six months and get a breast MRI. It's not a death sentence if they do a preventative measure because if they do have a bilateral mastectomy, they are reducing their risk by close to 99 percent," said Johnson.

Although doctors don't know specifically what causes breast cancer, they encourage people to live healthy life styles and schedule regular visits to the doctor.

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