Angelina Jolie Has Double Mastectomy To Reduce Breast Cancer Risk, Shares Story
Angelina Jolie lost her mother to cancer in 2007
Angelina Jolie, upon learning that she had an 87% chance of getting breast cancer, elected to undergo a double mastectomy. The actress wrote about her difficult and courageous decision in an op-ed for The New York Times.
Jolie began the medical process roughly three and a half months ago; by April 27, the mastectomies were complete. During this time, Jolie kept her operation to herself, but ultimately decided to share her experience. On Tuesday, her op-ed entitled “My Medical Choice”, appeared in the New York paper.
“I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy,” Jolie said in the column. “But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”
Jolie, whose mother Marcheline Betrand lost her battle with cancer six years ago, carries the “faulty gene” BRCA1, which puts her at greater risk for both breast and ovarian cancers. Not wanting her children (Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, Viv and Knox) to lose their mother as early as she did, she was inspired to take proactive preventative measures to lengthen her life.
Jolie, who has had breast reconstruction surgery that makes her operations nearly undetectable, is quick to state that she feels no less feminine. “I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices. Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”
According to Jolie, Brad Pitt, her husband and father to her children, has been nothing but loving and supportive. "We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer,” she wrote. “And it has."