New figures show GP referrals for genetic testing for women considered to be at high risk of developing breast cancer doubled last year in connection with Angelina Jolie's announcement that she had a preventive double mastectomy after inheriting an altered BRCA gene. Commenting on this news Grete Brauten-Smith Clinical Nurse Specialist at Breast Cancer Care said:

“Angelina Jolie’s experience highlighted the important issue of family history and breast cancer. It’s positive to see the figures illustrating how women in a similar situation with a strong family history have been encouraged to find support and are taking action to ensure they are appropriately screened.

“It’s important that the 5% who have inherited an altered BRCA gene are able to make an informed decision about risk-reducing surgery and other options available to them. It is positive that Angelina felt surgery didn’t reduce her feelings of femininity though we know that people’s experiences of surgery vary.

“If you’re concerned about your family history the first step is to talk to your GP.”