Support for women facing a difficult health decision

Actress Angelina Jolie attends a gala screening for the film '"Moneyball" during the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday, Sept. 9, 2011 in Toronto. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

Actress Angelina Jolie attends a gala screening for the film '"Moneyball" during the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday, Sept. 9, 2011 in Toronto. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

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Women at high risk of breast cancer in Scarborough can be referred to a specialist Family History Service and advised on surgical options.

The issue of preventative surgery hit the headlines this week when Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie went public about having an elective double mastectomy.

The 37-year-old was told by doctors that she had an 87 per cent risk of developing breast cancer without this radical treatment because of genes she inherited from her mother.

Jolie explained that her mother fought breast cancer for nearly a decade and died at the age of 56.

She said she hoped her story would “encourage every woman” to think about their own risk of breast cancer.

A spokesperson from York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “The Trust has a Family History Service in place which provides a clear structure for women who may be at risk of breast cancer due to a genetic link and may want to go on to have preventative surgery.

“Women with concerns can be referred to the service on request by their GP and their risk of genetic breast cancer is assessed at the breast clinic.

“Anyone deemed at high risk will be referred for genetic testing and counselling while those with a low to medium risk will be monitored through breast imaging.

“Some women may choose to go on to have a mastectomy and will be offered breast reconstruction which is carried out at York Hospital.”