No Angelina Jolie Effect Found In Rates of Breast Cancer Screening Interview with:

Marco D. Huesch, MBBS, PhD Department of Radiology Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Hershey, PA 

Dr. Huesch

Marco D. Huesch, MBBS, PhD
Department of Radiology
Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Hershey, PA What is the background for this study?

Response: Public health depends on coordinated actions between patients, payors and providers. Important preventative care and evidence-based screenings need to be understood and sought out by patients, need to be reimbursed by or subsidized by insurance plans, and offered and recommended by physicians and care team members.

Women’s breast health is a good example of how – in theory – all these come together and allow women to obtain regular screenings for breast cancer through mammograms. Yet it is commonly accepted that perhaps as many as 1 in 3 women are not adequately screened or are not screened at all.

In this study we hypothesized that a prominent global celebrity, Ms Angelina Jolie’s, highly public announcement of her own risk-reducing surgery to prevent breast cancer and her recommendation to women to understand whether they were at high risk might spur uptake of breast screenings at our institution. What are the main findings?

Response: Unfortunately, our study’s findings were negative. Comparing the number of mammograms carried out weekly in the two years before Ms Jolie’s announcement with the numbers carried out weekly in the two years after showed no increase around the time of her announcement. Our findings were in contrast to similar, but smaller, studies in the UK, and also in contrast to recent findings in the US of increased BRCA gene testing and surgery referrals around the time of Ms Jolie’s announcements. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Evidence-based screening for breast cancer remains the single most important action that members of the community can take to reduce the mortality from breast cancer. Screening allows early detection and a provides for better outcomes and less severe therapies. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Research and outreach interventions to increase the number of women who have ever been screened, and to increase the frequency of screening to conform to evidence-based guidelines are needed. We speculate that making use of modern online social network and online social media tools may be a promising example. In other research we find that there is active interest in mammography nationally on Facebook, and presenting women on Facebook with advertisements that seek to drive uptake of screening may be a useful tool.

No disclosures. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Evaluation of the “Angelina Jolie Effect” on Screening Mammography Utilization in an Academic Center
Huesch, Marco D. et al.
Journal of the American College of Radiology , Volume 0 , Issue 0

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Last Updated on June 14, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD