Angelina Jolie has come forward with news that she underwent a double mastectomy after genetic testing showed she had a high risk of developing breast cancer.
The 37-year-old Oscar winner, who began the surgery in February and finished in April, opened up in a New York Times op-ed pieced titled, “My Medical Choice.”
“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 five percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer,” the mother of six wrote.
The actress, who lost her mother to cancer in 2007, says she has a “faulty gene,” which doctors said gave her an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of ovarian cancer.
Partner Brad Pitt was by Angelina’s side during her procedure.
“I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has,” she continued.
Jolie detailed the process in her piece, which includes receiving implants. The couple’s children can now only see a glimpse of what she went through.
“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,” she wrote. “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.”
Adding, “I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options. Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”