Angelina Jolie announced in a New York Times op-ed on Tuesday that she had gotten a double mastectomy as a preventative measure against breast cancer. The 37-year-old actress, whose mother died of breast cancer at the age of 56, explained she carried the BRCA1 gene, which upped her risk of developing cancer to 87 per cent.
"My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 per cent to under 5 per cent," she wrote. "I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."
Jolie, who also praised partner Brad Pitt for his support, added that three months of surgeries (which ended on April 27 and included breast reconstruction), did not leave her feeling "any less of a woman" but in fact left her feeling "empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."
In conclusion, Jolie explained why she went public. "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," she wrote. "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."
But Jolie is not the first star to come forward about her surgery. In 2008, Christina Applegate opened up about getting a double mastectomy. Cancer was found in her left breast, but after getting a positive for the BRCA gene, Applegate opted to get both her breasts removed.
"It just seemed like, 'I don't want to have to deal with this again. I don't want to keep putting that stuff in my body. I just want to be done with this,'" she told CNN. "I was just going to let them go."
In 2012, Kathy Bates announced she had also gotten a double mastectomy. The "Harry's Law" star, who had previously battled ovarian cancer, decided to get the
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