In yet another reason to look to actress Angelina Jolie for inspiration, today the mother of six bravely admitted to the New York Times that back in February, she underwent a preventative double mastectomy. In April she finished her several procedures, including implants to reconstruct her breasts..
“My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent,” Jolie writes. “I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.” Doctors also told her that she has a 50 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer.
“I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive,” she says. “Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries.”
Jolie’s mother Marcheline Bertrand died at 56 after a long battle against breast cancer. “My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56,” she says. “She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.”
“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,” she says. “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.”
The Oscar-winning actress and activist, said she carries a gene, BRCA1, that increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. According to Jolie and a fact sheet from the Cancer Institute at Stanford Medicine, women with the BRCA1 gene have an average of a 65 percent lifetime risk for breast cancer, along with heightened risk of the cancer at an early age.
“On a personal note, 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,” Jolie says.
Friends and fans were quick to support Jolie via messages on Twitter. Actress Marlee Matlin called her “brave, honest (and) strong.” And “Veronica Mars” star Kristen Bell praised Jolie’s article as “admirable.”