Angelina Jolie Reveals She Had A Double Mastectomy Recently After Finding Out She Carried “Faulty” BRCA1 Gene
Hollywood bombshell Angelina Jolie revealed today in an op-ed post that she did for the New York Times that she underwent a double mastectomy procedure over the last few months. In the piece, titled My Medical Choice, she explains that the major decision was made after Jolie was told by doctors that she had a “faulty” BRCA1 gene which could increase her risk of developing breast cancer, and even ovarian cancer greatly. Jolie watched her own mother die from cancer, ovarian cancer, in 2007 at the age of 56 after a ten year battle. Here’s some highlights from her very poignant article:
“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.
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.”
Jolie went on to discuss that she underwent three complex steps in her procedure, including a “n*pple delay,” where extra blood is directed toward the breast ducts behind the n*pple which can ultimately save it; then there was the second procedure where her breast tissue was removed, which took eight hours; lastly, she had a reconstructive surgery where she had implants put in. All in all, Jolie seems to be happy with her results, and more pleased with the fact that she did what she needed to do to be around longer for her children (her chances of having breast cancer in the future have gone down to five percent).
“It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”
Check out Jolie’s full article over at the New York Times where she goes on to discuss the support she received from her partner, Brad Pitt, and why she wanted to share her story so that more women would know that they have options. Definitely a brave choice.
What do you think of her choice to undergo the procedure after hearing that she had the “faulty gene”?