In an op-ed piece for the The New York Times, Oscar winning actress and mother-of-six Angelina Jolie reveals that she recently underwent a preventive double mastectomy.
In the article, the 37-year-old actress goes into great detail about how her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, fought breast cancer for almost a decade before dying from the disease at 56 years old.
After being told by doctors that she carried a "faulty gene" that increases the chances of breast and ovarian cancer -- with an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of the latter -- Jolie decided to be proactive and have a double mastectomy.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
"Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. 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."
"On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved. During that time I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work."
"But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people's hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action..."
"…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. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”
For the full New York Times article, click here.