The FDA has approved a new treatment for women with breast cancer caused by the BRCA mutation, which Angelina Jolie famously attributed to her preventive double mastectomy.
According to a press release by the Food and Drug Administration, the drug, Lynparza, was approved for patients whose breast cancer has metastasized and who carry a mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.
The genes’ purpose is to repair damaged DNA and keep cells healthy; however, when they don’t function properly, the odds of developing breast or ovarian cancer increase significantly.
Explaining that she carried a “faulty” gene inherited from her mother, who died of cancer at age 56, Jolie wrote, “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.
“Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.”
Describing the eight-hour procedure to remove breast tissue as a “scene out of a science-fiction film,” Jolie wrote of the aftermath, “On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”