Elizabeth Hurley: Breast Cancer Ambassador

The actress shares how the loss of her grandmother led her to travel the world to raise awareness of breast cancer—and to protect her own health.

Ellen Byron

Ask about genetic testing. If breast cancer runs in your family, consider getting tested to find out if you carry one of the genes, BRCA1 or BRCA2. “There is no hereditary breast cancer in my family,” says Elizabeth. “However, I have a girlfriend who carries the gene and, after having her children, had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery as a preventive measure.”

Why it might help you:
 If you carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, you’ll be screened differently than if you’re at average risk. The ACS recommends getting mammograms and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests starting at age 30. Some women choose to have surgery to remove both breasts before cancer develops; this can reduce the risk of cancer by 90% or more, according to the ACS.

November 2012