Angelina Jolie (37) has revealed today that she has undergone a double mastectomy.
Writing in the The New York Times, in a piece called “My Medical Choice”, Jolie said it was a preventative measure. Her doctors had estimated she had an 87% chance risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer.
“Once I knew this was my reality, I decide to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventative mastectomy.” Jolie wrote.
Jolie lost her mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand to cancer in 2007 – when Bertrand was only 56. Having the operation was a way of reassuring Jolie’s six kids that she would not die young from cancer – as their grandmother did.
“We often speak of ‘Mommy’s mommy’. and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a ‘faulty’ gene.”
Jolie writes that her procedure started in February 2nd and the treatment (which lasted months and included breast implants) ended in April. Her fiancee Brad Pitt was by Jolie’s side the entire time.
Even though she has kept silent about her treatment until it was over, Jolie writes that she hopes her ordeal will help other women in facing a similar situation:
“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 I made,” Jolie writes. “My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 per cent to under 5 per cent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”