Media missed important message when covering Angelina Jolie’s preventative mastectomy

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Image via Forbes. Credit: AJ Alfieri-Crispin/Flickr based on an original photo by Todd Heisler for The New York Times

After Angelina Jolie’s New York Times op-ed detailing the reasons for her preventative, bilateral mastectomy, I expressed concern that some women with breast cancer might conclude they weren’t doing enough to treat their own disease. The average breast cancer patient, or typical woman assessing her breast cancer risk, might not be able to accurately gauge how their risk of cancer or recurrence compares to Jolie’s relatively rare case.

Jolie’s revelation was widely reported by the press and received as a positive message on personal responsibility in health care. But two papers published online last week in the journal Genetics in Medicine raise important concerns about accuracy of newspaper reporting on celebrity medical issues and the overall benefit of such high-profile commentary to public health education.

Read the full, original story here: How the Public and the Media Got Angelina Jolie’s Breast Cancer Message Wrong

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