In a stunning New York Times op-ed article (just published today), "My Medical Choice," Angelina Jolie, 37, announced she had a preventative double mastectomy.
The Oscar winning actress underwent the procedure when she learned she carries a mutation of theBRCA1 gene, which majorly increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Her own mother died of ovarian cancer at age 56, and it's left her and her family with anxiety about the disease.
"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," Angelina writes. "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."
She goes on to reveal that she just finished three months of procedures on April 27 — including the double mastectomy and reconstruction — at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in California.
Natural ambassador that she is, Angelina offers strength, support and advice for other women considering or undergoing the procedure, and notes that the decision isn't for everyone.
"I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive," she writes. "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."
"For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options," she continues. "I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices."
Angelina says the decision to go through with the procedure "was not easy," but she's happy with it. "My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent."
Best of all, Brad and their six kids can rest easy. "I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer," she writes.
We wish Angelina and her family all the best.
Love... xo Haley-O