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Kelly Osbourne Relates to Jolie; Says She Also Carries BRCA1 Gene

Illustration for article titled Kelly Osbourne Relates to Jolie; Says She Also Carries BRCA1 Gene

Angelina Jolie's New York Time piece, in which she revealed she's recently undergone surgery to remove her ovaries following the removal of her breasts, inspired Kelly Osbourne to come forward and publicly announce that she, too, carries the cancer-causing BRCA1 gene.

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Via the New York Post:

"I actually do have the cancer gene," Osbourne, 30, said on Tuesday's episode of her cancer survivor mother Sharon's chat show, "The Talk." "My mom made all of us go and get tested after she found out she had it and got her double mastectomy."

Regarding preventive measures, Osbourne said, "I agree with this one hundred percent. I know one day I will eventually have to do it too. If I have children I want to be there to bring them up."

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According to the National Cancer Institute, carrying the BRCA1 gene increases a woman's lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers to 55 to 65 percent and 39 percent, respectively, as well as an increased risk of developing fallopian tube and peritoneal cancers. However, even taking such drastic measures as having parts removed doesn't entirely remove the risks of eventually developing breast and ovarian cancers, "because not all at-risk tissue can be removed by these procedures."

The cost of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic testing alone can cost thousands of dollars, with the associated surgeries costing up to tens of thousands of dollars each, not always covered by health insurance. Either way, women like Jolie and Osbourne should be commended for their bravery in not only accepting a role as public health advocates, but for sharing their vulnerabilities with the world in very real, heartbreaking ways—when really, they owe no one an explanation for what must be incredibly difficult choices.

Image via AP

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DISCUSSION

I have the BRCA1 mutation too and I have had the surgeries. While yes it's true that removing breasts and ovaries does not completely remove the risk, it lowers it considerably. While yes, technically I can still get Breast cancer because there is a small amount of Breast tissue left, the chance of me developing breast cancer now is less than the general population. Before my mastectomy it was 87%. Many people think it's silly to remove healthy body parts since the risk is still there, but in reality there are no other options that are as effective. Every doctor I have spoken to recommended surgery to me.

Good on Kelly for being open about this. While I have never really been a fan, I admire her. It's not an easy thing to talk about, but I'm glad that those in the public eye, who have a lot more reach than little ol' me are opening the discussion. I'm open to answering any questions at all.