After having discovered she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer, Angelina Jolie underwent a preventive double mastectomy to reduce her chances of breast cancer.
Hoping other women will find encouragement in her story, an article published in the opinion section of Tuesdays New York Times Jolie discusses her decision was due to her mother, Marcheline Bertrand’s long fight against cancer, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 56.
"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," Jolie said in the Times article. "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."
Jolie carries a gene, BRCA1, which increases the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. According to a fact sheet from the Cancer Institute at Stanford Medicine, Jolie was well informed that women with the BRCA1 gene have an average of a 65 percent lifetime risk for breast cancer, along with heightened risk of the cancer at an early age. Jolie is 37.
Jolie completed her double mastectomy, which included breast implants for breast reconstruction on April 27, where her partner Brad Pitt was there for her support. She also states her six children saw nothing that made them uncomfortable.
"They can see my small scars and that’s it," Jolie wrote. "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."
Many other celebrities like Sharon Osbourne and Miss America contestant Allyn Rose carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 and have also braved the fight to have undergone preventative double mastectomies.
We have put together this important resource infographic to help raise breast cancer awareness and help show you how to screen yourself for breast cancer. Click the infographic below!