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Actress and director Angelina Jolie's disclosure in 2013 in a New York Times op-ed that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a BRCA1 gene mutation increasing her risk of breast and ovarian spurred many women to also get tested, according to an AARP Public Policy Institute report.

In the report, Lina Walker from the AARP Public Policy Institute and Pamela Morin from Optum Labs say there was a 40 percent increase in BRCA testing rate after Jolie's op-ed appeared, as gauged by claims data from Optum Labs. They also note that more of the women who sought testing did not already have a cancer diagnosis, in contrast to before Jolie shared her story. The women who sought testing were more likely to be white, Hispanic, or under the age of 64, the researchers say.

"By revealing her personal story, Angelina Jolie did an incredible job of raising public awareness about the BRCA gene mutations and the increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer," AARP Executive Vice President for Policy Debra Whitman says in a statement. "We found that Baby Boomer women ages 50- to 64-years-old had the highest increase in testing rates for the BRCA gene."

Previous studies in Canada and the UK noted similar increases in testing demand and referrals to genetic counselors after Jolie's op-ed appeared.