Despite being one of the most famous faces in the world, Angelina Jolie managed to disappear for long enough to undergo a double mastectomy after discovering she carries the BRCA1 gene, which increases her risk of breast cancer. In an OpEd piece for the New York Times, Angelina revealed her decision and her journey from double mastectomy to breast reconstruction.
34-year old Angelina Jolie underwent a drastic surgery in order to prevent possibly developing breast and ovarian cancer after discovering she carried the BRCA1 gene, which has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer and early development.
Angelina Jolie started undergoing medical procedures a little over 3 months ago and finished her final surgeries, including breast reconstruction, on April 27.
She writes, “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.”
Apparently Angelina lost her mother to cancer and she didn’t want her children to go through the same loss.
Angelina came forward with her story to empower other women who may have similar concerns.
“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.”
While Angelina opted for breast reconstruction, likely due to her primary career as an actress, some women choose to wear silicone breast prosthesis and explore other non-surgical options after a mastectomy.
Read the complete celebrity plastic surgery profile of Angelina Jolie at Plasticopedia, the celebrity plastic surgery encyclopedia.
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