The Angelina Jolie effect

Paul A James, Gillian Mitchell, Michael Bogwitz and Geoffrey J Lindeman
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (10): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.11218
Published online: 18 November 2013

Media attention highlights the challenges faced by the rapidly developing field of familial cancer

amilial cancer centres (FCCs) have been established throughout Australia to investigate an individual’s personal and family history of cancer, with the goal of providing familial risk assessment and management advice, and ensuring that the limited resources available for genetic testing are used to maximum benefit. This highly specialised field recently enjoyed a brief moment in the celebrity spotlight when Angelina Jolie, one of the world’s highest profile celebrities, disclosed that she carries a BRCA1 gene mutation and opted to have preventive bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction to manage her breast cancer risk. In a thoughtful opinion piece in the New York Times, Jolie discussed her extensive family history and explained how she had come to her own personal choices to manage her risk.1

  • Paul A James1,2
  • Gillian Mitchell1
  • Michael Bogwitz2
  • Geoffrey J Lindeman2,3

  • 1 Familial Cancer Centre, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Familial Cancer Centre, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Stem Cells and Cancer Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, VIC.



We thank Maira Kentwell and Mary-Anne Young for helpful discussions, and Wendy Hertan and Penny Fannin for compiling a Factiva search of print publications. We receive funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council, National Breast Cancer Foundation and Victorian Cancer Agency.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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