In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Angelina Jolie writes that she had a double mastectomy after finding out that she had the gene, BRCA1, which increases her risk of getting breast cancer. Doctors told Angie Jolie that she had an 87 percent chance of getting breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer. So a little over three months ago, she underwent the first of many medical procedures, including getting reconstructive implants, and her double mastectomy was completed on April 27. Angie’s chances of getting breast cancer have gone from 87 percent to 5 percent. And she did it all without the media finding out. In every tabloid office right now, the editor is firing every damn reporter for not finding this out first.
Angelina’s mother Marcheline Bertrand died of ovarian cancer and she writes that although some of her child army got a chance to meet their grandmother, they’ll never get to know her. So Angie Jolie had the double mastectomy so she can tell the child army that they don’t have to worry about losing her to breast cancer. Angie writes about how she made the decision to get a double mastectomy:
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.
Angie then writes that she decided to go public with her decision to help other women and she’s lucky she has Brad Pitt to support her. What she means by that is that Brad Pitt supplied her with some seriously potent chronic while she was healing.
I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast 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 breast cancer.
It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. 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. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.
I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. 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. 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.
And now she’s officially, officially a saint!