In a recent article for the New York Times, actress Angelina Jolie reveals: “I had preventive double mastectomy”. The Hollywood belle made the decision to go under the knife after finding out that her risk of developing breast cancer at one point in her life is over 80 percent.
“My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56”, starts Angelia Jolie’s confession in the New York Times, published on May 14. “We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us”, she shares. Jolie explains that she carries the BRCA1 gene, responsible for the increase in breast and ovarian cancer risk. Her doctors estimated that the chances she would be diagnosed further in her life with breast cancer are about 87%, while the ovarian cancer had a 50% risk of occurring.
When she found out what her situation was, the movie starlet decided to take matters into her own hands and undergo a double mastectomy in order to prevent having the same fate as her mother. “I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy,” she says. The surgery occurred in mid-February, two weeks after she had a “nipple delay”, a procedure which rules out disease in the breast ducts behind the nipple and draws extra blood flow to the area, as she explains. The mastectomy lasted eight hours. “It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life”, Jolie shares.
Nine weeks later she had the final surgery, the breasts reconstruction. The whole process took place at the Pink Lotus Breast Center and the person who was most supportive of her during that time was husband Brad Pitt. “We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has.”
“I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made”, the actress and mother of six explains, adding that her cancer risk has now dropped to under 5 percent.
“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 concludes, hoping that “ 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.”