Actress Angelina Jolie made a surprising announcement that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy surgery back in February after learning she discovers the mutated BRCA1 gene that increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Jolie made the revelation in a op-ed article published in Tuesday’s New York Times, writing that she took action to decrease her risk of contracting the same disease her mother died of at the age of 56.
“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,” she wrote in her NY Times piece titled “My Medical Choice.”
After undergoing the procedure, Jolie’s risk dropped from 87 to just 5 percent of developing the cancer. To the 37-year-old actress, the preventative surgery was the right choice to make for her children and hopes her decision inspires other women to 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,” she adds. “I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”
Luckily, Jolie had the support of her family and writes that her fiance Brad Pitt was by her side during the entire process.
“I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is loving and supportive…Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries,” she wrote.
After undergoing surgery to remove her breasts, Jolie returned nine weeks later for reconstructive surgery with an implant she says hospitals have made “advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.”
Though the choice was difficult, Jolie writes “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.”