Angelina Jolie Pitt’s decision to have her ovaries surgically removed, which the actress and director detailed in The New York Times on March 24, was justified by her family history of breast and ovarian cancer as well as the discovery that she carries a gene mutation known to strongly increase risk for these diseases. Her story is expected to inspire other women to seek out genetic testing for cancer — but some will find themselves in a much less clear-cut situation.

After Jolie Pitt disclosed in 2013 that she carries a risk-increasing mutation in the gene BRCA1 and had undergone a preventive double mastectomy, researchers documented a surge in demand for genetic testing. They called it the “Angelina Jolie Effect.” But not everyone who pursues genetic testing comes away with a definite course of action.

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