Angelina Jolie’s revelation this week that she had undergone a double mastectomy after discovering a high genetic risk for developing breast cancer demonstrated the power of DNA testing, Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer Eric Topol, MD, told NBC Nightly News.
“This is true medical prevention,” he said in an interview with NBC chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman. “This is genomics preventing a very serious disease.”
Jolie revealed her cancer risk from a mutated BRCA1 gene and her decision to remove both breasts to prevent the disease in an op-ed article published by the New York Times.
“My doctor estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer,” the actress wrote. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and minimize the risks as much I could.”
Dr. Topol, who heads Scripps Genomic Medicine, is a leading proponent of using DNA testing to diagnose, treat and prevent disease. He called Jolie’s revelation “a sentinel event” for the field.
Watch the NBC Nightly News segment: Considering Genetic Testing? It’s not for everyone