It’s been five years since Angelina Jolie announced to the world she carries a BRCA1 mutation and had a prophylactic double mastectomy to lower her risks of developing breast cancer. Below advocates reflect on the impact she has made by sharing her story and starting widespread conversation about hereditary cancer and prevention.

“Angelina’s efforts have done a great deal to raise awareness for genetic testing. As an advocate for those with hereditary cancer syndromes, I see the negative effects of genetic testing without certified genetic counseling every single day. “Knowledge is only power” when people truly understand their risks and have the resources to take action — unfortunately for many people, this is simply not case.”

— Georgia M. Hurst @SheWithLynch (501c3)

Prevention is priceless. In Angelina Jolie’s very own words, “The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful.” #geneticcounseling #hereditarycancer #genetictesting #savinglives #makingAdifference

— Lisa M Guzzardi @LGuzzardiM

I am grateful that Angelina Jolie had the bravery to share her story and start a discussion with the world. Three years later and her impact is still being felt in regards to genetic testing and prophylactic surgeries. Kudos to her.

— Karen Lazarovitz @Karenbrcamtl Instagram: @karenlazarovitz_brca

Ms. Jolie’s candid disclosure around her genetic testing results and her personal decision to make proactive choices based on those results, brought the subject of genetic testing into the limelight and triggered important dialogue around education, access, privacy and applicability of genetic screening.

— Stacey Tinianov @coffeemommy

Angelina Jolie’s disclosure ignited worldwide media attention with the primary focus of the media being on her mastectomy and her particular gene mutation, BRCA. The “missed” message from Jolie’s disclosure continues to be my biggest platform in my advocacy efforts: Knowledge from genetic testing is only useful if an individual has had an accurate cancer risk assessment, result interpretation and receives the correct healthcare recommendations. The most qualified person to provide that knowledge is a certified genetic counselor.

— Amy Byer Shainman @BRCAresponder Hereditary Cancer/BRCA Advocate Executive Producer Pink & Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer

Photo Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office via Flickr