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Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she had undergone a double mastectomy was praised by breast cancer survivors in east London.

The star revealed she had taken the steps after finding out she had a rare gene that meant she had a high risk of developing breast cancer. She said she owed it to her children to be around for them.

This week it prompted the founder of the UK breast cancer charity,, to appeal for women under 30 from east London who have suffered from the disease to volunteer to help educate women about life-saving checks.

Pauline Giles, who had breast cancer in 2010, launched the charity two years ago.

She said: “Women are dying unnecessarily because they don’t tell anybody. If they have a lump the size of a pea, it costs the NHS £2,000 to remove it and within weeks they can be back at work. It only impacts on their family life when they ignore it.”

She said women from ethnic minorities in particular were reluctant to attend breast screening appointments.

Frances Clarke, from Community Links, was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago. She has spearheaded a campaign called Young Lifesavers to educate girls in several secondary schools about the importance of early detection of the disease.

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She said: “Angelina Jolie is about body image and has lived on that image. She could have had the reconstruction and not told anybody but she did not do that.

“It means we can have a frank discussion with our schoolgirls about regular self examination.”

Breast cancer expert Mr Faisal Mihaimeed, who practises at BMI The London Independent Hospital in Stepney Green, also praised Jolie’s decision to speak publicly but said the majority of women who develop breast cancer, or who have a relative with breast cancer, do not have a BRCA mutation, and will not need to consider having a preventative double mastectomy or genetic testing.