As a result of her surgery, Jolie has cut her breast-cancer risk to under five percent. The move was a dramatic, given Jolie’s reputation as one of the most beautiful women in the world.
But she says she decided to be take action and cut the risk because of her children.
“Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could,” she wrote in a New York Times column revealing her operation.
“I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex,” she explained.
Angelina had even more to worry about. Her mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer in 2007. Jolie, 37, said her mom’s prolonged cancer battle and premature death motivated her to take preventive action.
“My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56,” Angelina wrote. “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.”
“The truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.”
Angelina is the mother of six young children, and she wanted other mothers to benefit from her decision. She joins celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne and Giuliana Rancic, who have undergone the procedure because of genetic conditions.
After having her breasts removed, Jolie said she underwent reconstructive breast surgery, which involved implants.
“Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful,” she noted.
Jolie urged other women to get tested for cancer.