Angelina Jolie Has Preventive Double Mastectomy
Angelina Jolie has revealed she underwent a preventive double mastectomy after genetic tests showed she had a 97 percent risk of developing breast cancer, along with a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
The 37-year-old actress had the surgery in February and completed the last of the follow-up procedures in April, she says in a New York Times op-ed piece called "My Medical Choice."
Jolie lost her mother, actress Marceline Bertrand, who was 56 when she passed away after she lost a long battle with cancer.
"I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy," says Jolie in the column appearing Tuesday. "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."
She said she has kept the process private so far, but wrote about it with hopes of helping other women.
"I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer," Jolie said in the Times article. "It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."
Jolie, who has six children with Brad Pitt, says the actor was at her side every step of the way.
"I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive," she writes. "So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition."
Pitt was with her "for every minute of the surgeries," and even during the difficult times, Jolie says, "We managed to find moments to laugh together."
"We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has," she writes.
Jolie describes in detail her surgery and follow-up procedures, including receiving implants and that now her children "see nothing that makes them uncomfortable."
"They can see my small scars and that's it," she writes. "Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can.
"On a personal note," she continues, "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."