Angelina Jolie was very “moved” by a recent visit to the Institut Curie, France’s leading center in the fight against cancer.
The Maleficent: Mistress of Evil actress, who has been open about her own cancer scares in the past, spent time with young patients and their families on Saturday, and also met with doctors to discuss the latest discoveries in breast and ovarian cancer research.
“It was a very moving, very human experience to see doctors from around the world coming together every day trying to find solutions to cancer, working alongside the very patients — some of them young children — who are undergoing treatment,” Jolie, 44, said in a statement.
“I could see the close bond the doctors and scientific teams have with the patients and their families, who are battling cancer together with so much love and care,” she added. “I was especially moved by a boy undergoing treatment who told me he had already decided to be a doctor when he grows up, so he can help the doctors he so admires.”
The mom of six also noted, “New scientific discoveries are being made and new medical treatments developed. The most important thing, from my own experience, is to seek advice and be informed about your options.”
In 2013, Jolie had a preventive double mastectomy, a decision she came to after genetic tests showed she carried a mutated BRCA1 gene, predisposing her to the possibilities of developing breast cancer.
Two years later, an ovarian cancer scare lead her to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.
While at the Institut Curie, Jolie also met with Professor Dominique Stoppa-Lyonnet, who was one of the first to open a genetic consultation service dedicated to those predisposed to breast cancer.
“This hereditary cancer potentially affects a huge number of families, and if we can inform women of the existence of these predispositions, our ability to care for high-risk patients will be improved,” Professor Stoppa-Lyonnet said as she praised Jolie for speaking out about her own experience.
“Angelina Jolie’s testimony in May 2013 regarding her choice of prophylactic mastectomy due to a BRCA1 alteration had a fantastic and positive impact on women who were wondering about their breast cancer risk,” she added. “The demand for BRCA testing has doubled at the Institut Curie with a persistent effect. The discussion has been opened. Angelina’s testimony was very respectful of the women’s decision saying, ‘It‘s my choice.’ ”
Professor Stoppa-Lyonnet continued: “The identification of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes has opened a new era of knowledge in cancer biology and in cancer treatment. Now, it is time to move to individual estimates of the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Indeed, it is necessary to understand why some women will be affected by breast cancer at age 30 or earlier and why others will not be affected during their lifetime. The individual risk estimates associated with the woman’s wishes will help to find the best personal management.”
After the visit to the Institut Curie, Jolie enjoyed an intimate dinner with her closest loved ones.
The star and a group, including her godmother Jacqueline Bisset, gathered for dinner on Saturday night at Restaurant Laperouse. Known as “the most romantic restaurant in Paris” the Left Bank townhouse has housed a silk & silver restaurant since the 18th century. Featuring a broad front room restaurant with views upon the Seine, the restaurant also includes a much-storied suite of private rooms offering intimate couples dining.
Featured in Midnight In Paris and recently revived, the dining spot has become the favorite for Hollywood celebrities visiting the French capital including George and Amal Clooney. Last June, Zoë Kravitz celebrated her wedding rehearsal dinner there along with Denzel Washington, Reese Witherspoon, and others.
- With reporting by PETER MIKELBANK and MARY GREEN