By Pat Loeb

LAFAYETTE HILL, Pa. (CBS) — Angelina Jolie says she disclosed her medical history to encourage other women to find out if they might have BRCA, the genetic marker for breast cancer (see related story).

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But a Montgomery County woman with the gene says finding out is just the beginning of the process.

“We are both very lucky that we had this opportunity to have genetic counseling and genetic testing, says Sandy Cohen.  She says many women don’t have the luxury that she and Jolie had — to find out before they got cancer that they carried the BRCA gene.

Cohen found out when she was 36 years old that there was an 85-percent chance she’d get breast cancer.

“You do feel lit’s like a ticking time bomb inside of you,” she told KYW Newsradio today.  “I definitely was obsessed with thinking about cancer all the time, so it really weighs on you.  And when you have children, you’re thinking of them first.”

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Cohen says preventive mastectomy is not an easy decision.  She got support from other women with BRCA in the group “Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered” (FORCE), and says she’s never regretted her decision.

“I feel really good that my children, if they’re every faced with the same situation, will see that I did something about it — and they can, too.”

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