Famous actress and Brad Pitt’ s sweetheart recently underwent a surgery to remove both her breasts in order to prevent chest cancer in the future.
Angelina Jolie says she underwent a
preventive double mastectomy earlier this
year after learning she carries a gene that
increases her risk of developing chest cancer
and ovarian cancer.
In a New York Times op-ed published late
Monday, the 37-year-old Academy Award
winner writes that after genetic testing she
learned she carries the “faulty” BRCA1 gene.
The risk of developing cancer due to the gene
varies, but Jolie says doctors estimated she
had an 87 percent risk of chest cancer and a
50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
Jolie, whose mother died from cancer, says
she decided to have the preventive
mastectomy to be “proactive” for the sake of
her six children with her partner, Brad Pitt.
“My mother fought cancer for almost a
decade and died at 56,” Jolie writes. “She
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.”
She said she has kept the process private so
far, but wrote about with hopes of helping
“I wanted to write this to tell other women
that the decision to have a mastectomy was
not easy,” she writes. “But it is one I am
very happy that I made. My chances of
developing chest cancer have dropped from
87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my
children that they don’t need to fear they will
lose me to chest cancer.”
She is anything but private in the details she
provides, giving a step-by-step description of
the procedures. She writes that between
early February and late April she completed
three months of surgical procedures to
remove both breasts.
“My own process began on Feb. 2 with a
procedure known as a `bosom delay,”‘ she
writes, “which rules out disease in the chest
ducts behind the bosom and draws extra
blood flow to the area.”
She then describes the major surgery two
weeks later where chest tissue was removed,
saying it felt “like a scene out of a science-
fiction film,” then writes that nine weeks later
she had a third surgery to reconstruct the
breasts and receive implants.”
Many women have chosen preventive
mastectomy since genetic screening for chest
cancer was developed, but the move and
public announcement is unprecedented from
a star so young and widely known as Jolie.
She briefly addresses the effects of the
surgery on the idealized sexuality and iconic
womanhood that have fueled her fame.
“I do not feel any less of a woman,” Jolie
writes. “I feel empowered that I made a
strong choice that in no way diminishes my
She also wrote that Brad Pitt, her partner of
eight years, was at the Pink Lotus chest
Center in Southern California for “every
minute of the surgeries.”
Jolie, daughter of Hollywood luminary Jon
Voight, has appeared in dozens of films
including 2010′s “The Tourist” and “Salt,” the
“Tomb Raider” films, and 1999′s “Girl,
Interrupted,” for which she won an Academy
But she has appeared more often in the news
in recent years for her power coupling with
Pitt and her charitable work with refugees as
a United Nations ambassador.