Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Angelina Jolie n’est pas seule

NEW YORK – Le 26 mai, la tante d’Angelina Jolie, Debbie Martin, est décédée d’un cancer du sein, à l’âge de 61 ans. La mère d’Angelina Jolie, Marcheline Bertrand, s’est éteinte à l’âge de 56 ans des suites d’un cancer des ovaires, une maladie liée aux mêmes causes. Et deux semaines avant la mort de Debbie Martin, Angelina Jolie a révélé qu’elle avait subi une double mastectomie préventive après avoir découvert qu’elle était porteuse d’une mutation du gène BRCA1 – qui multiplie par 5 le risque d’un cancer du sein et par 28 celui d’un cancer des ovaires.

Le test de dépistage d’une mutation du gène BRCA coûte cher – près de 3500 dollars. Aux Etats-Unis, les compagnies d’assurance ne le prennent en charge que si un parent au premier degré, par exemple la mère d’une femme, a eu un cancer du sein ou des ovaires. Il faut sinon débourser soi-même cette somme. Compte tenu des avantages d’un geste préventif, ce test a donné lieu à une vive controverse liée au fait que son producteur, Myriad Genetics, détient un brevet sur ce test qui lui en donne le monopole – et des profits substantiels.

La révélation d’Angelina Jolie jette un nouvel éclairage sur cette question. De manière plus générale, elle est l’une de ces rares actrices et sex-symbols, comme Madonna et quelques autres, qui choisit le sens qu’elle veut donner à sa célébrité. Pour Jolie, cela signifie souvent se servir de son statut d’icône pour faire progresser un ordre du jour positif, que ce soit la question des réfugiés syriens en Jordanie ou la sensibilisation au cancer du sein.

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