• By Elizabeth Zimmermann Young

“Jolie Effect” on Awareness of the Breast Cancer Genes

February 10, 2015

What every woman needs to know … and do

In a study released Feb. 11, 2015, the AARP Public Policy Institute reported that BRCA genetic testing among women without breast cancer increased dramatically in the days after Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she carried the BRCA1 mutation and had an elective double mastectomy.

Referred to among health care circles as the “Jolie Effect,” her openness led to increased awareness and action. When celebrities or other public figures talk freely about their medical journeys, it raises awareness of specific health issues and may facilitate patient-doctor conversations leading to more informed decision-making.

MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Dangor, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, [email protected]

Amy Degnim, M.D., a breast cancer surgeon at Mayo Clinic, answers some of the important questions surrounding breast cancer genes:

  • What are the ‘breast cancer genes’?
  • Should all women get tested?
  • If a woman has a BRCA gene mutation, what is her likelihood of developing breast cancer?
  • What are the options for a woman who tests positive for one of these mutations?
  • What else do women need to know?
  • More information on BRCA testing available online:
Analyzing the “Jolie Effect” Using “Big Data”

Big data is a term with uncertain roots and variable usage, but one which paints a picture of extremely large amounts of information, complex and disparate, that is difficult to analyze using traditional tools. This study is one example of the power of “big data.” AARP’s researchers analyzed Optum Labs data to inform their research. With vast and increasing combined information assets, technological resources and shared scientific expertise, Optum Labs collaborators seek to improve health care for everyone — outside the traditional information divides that so often exist across the continuum of health care delivery. Read more about “big data” in health care.

Optum Labs was established through a partnership between Optum, a leading information and technology-enabled health services business, and Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research, and education, as an open center for research and innovation. AARP joined the collaborative as Founding Consumer Advocate Organization in late 2013.

The community of partners in Optum Labs is dedicated to improving patient care by sharing information assets, technologies, knowledge tools and scientific expertise. Research partners bring diverse perspectives to shared problems and address questions that reflect patient care needs. Partners have access to in-depth and expansive de-identified clinical and claims data in an environment of innovative thinking and collaboration.

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About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to medical research and education, and providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit 
http://mayocl.in/1ohJTMS, or http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.

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