In an op-ed piece to be published in Tuesday’s New York Times, actressAngelina Jolie has announced that she recently completed a preventive double mastectomy. In the piece, the actress explains that the procedures have decreased her chances of getting breast cancer, from 87% to 5%, and that she feels “empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”
Jolie says she is sharing her experience now in hopes that other women can benefit from it.
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.
Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.
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. 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.
On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved. During that time I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work.
Jolie goes on to describe, in detail, the procedures, including a reconstruction that she says “can be beautiful.” She also praised husband Brad Pittfor his support, and advised “anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition.”
Yikes. As long as she's happy about it I guess. I don't think I could do it myself. My mother had cervical cancer. My grandmother and my aunt (her daughter) had breast cancer. I get tested once a year cause I'm such a high risk. Dont think I could ever do it.
I had a breast cancer scare a few tears ago. I had genetic testing done & do not have any of the Jewish or regular genetic cancer risks. If I did, I would have seriously considered this, especially if my biopsy had been positive, even though I complete mastectomy would not have been necessary.
Wow. That's a gutsy thing to do. I get the mammogram every year, and have no intention of having my breast tissue removed, even though both my grandmothers had breast cancer. I don't think I could go through with it as a "preventative measure." Apparently she's very serious about safeguarding her health. As long as she's comfortable with it, good for her.
I wish my cousin had done this. Her father and his parents had both died from cancer. Her oldest sister developed breast cancer when she was 28, and died 5 years later. Her other two sisters died from breast cancer in their 40s. Her mom had breast cancer too, but is still alive. Her two brothers both had cancer and are still alive. Yet she never had a preventive double mastectomy, and she was the last of the four girls to die from breast cancer. I will never understand why she didn't get one.