Angelina Jolie has made a tough decision that will forever change her life. The 37-year-old actress reveals she underwent a double mastectomy to reduce the odds she will get breast cancer. In a New York Times column that came out Tuesday, Jolie admits she had the surgery in February and the last of the follow-up procedures in April.
“My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent,” Jolie writes. “I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.” Doctors also told her that she has a 50 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer.
Brad Pitt, Jolie’s partner and father to their six children, has been extremely supportive. “Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries,” she says.
For Jolie, this decision stemmed from the fact that her mother Marcheline Bertrand died at 56 after a long battle against breast cancer. “My mother…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.”
In the article, Jolie details the extremes of each procedure. She also discloses that she now has breast implants. But Jolie is wary about exposing her children to the details. “It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable,” she says. “They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was.”
Jolie opted to write the article as a way to bring awareness. “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,” she says. “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.”
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