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Study reveals Jolie's mastectomy op-ed did not elevate breast cancer knowledge

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Back in May, actress Angelina Jolie surprised people everywhere when she penned an op-ed in the New York Times revealing she underwent a double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer. However, a new study has revealed that the piece did not have quite the desired effect in terms of raising knowledge about the disease.

According to NPR's blog on Dec. 20, a team of researchers from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins conducted a survey of over 2,500 Americans about Jolie and breast cancer. The results, which were released in the journal Genetics in Medicine, concluded that while three out of four people surveyed knew about Jolie's medical decision, the rate of people "properly understanding" her condition was under 10%.

The survey included questions both about Jolie's story and the specific genetic mutation that caused her to have the precautionary surgery, as well as a typical person's risk of getting the disease.

Timing was reportedly not a factor in the lack of real understanding among the surveyed group, as the survey was done within three weeks of Jolie's article being published on May 14.

Despite the revelation that the article did not necessarily elevate knowledge of breast cancer, some researchers say it at least raised some awareness.

"Celebrities are not health educators," lead researcher and professor of public health at the University of Maryland Dina Borzekowski said. She went on to add: ""I actually think that what [Jolie] did was extremely courageous. I think it's a positive thing."



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