Angelina Jolie has revealed her brave decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy after being told that she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer. That was not the only threat. The Oscar-winning actress and activist also faced 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
In an article published in Tuesday’s New York Times, Jolie said, “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. 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.” Her decision to have the double mastectomy was informed by her mother’s long fight against cancer. Marcheline Bertrand died in 2007 at age 56.
Jolie speaks about carrying a gene called BRCA1, which increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. According to Jolie and a fact sheet from the Cancer Institute at Stanford Medicine, women with the BRCA1 gene have an average of a 65 percent lifetime risk for breast cancer, along with heightened risk of the cancer at an early age.
Her partner, Brad Pitt and six children have stood by her through the entire process. Jolie said she hoped that other women would find encouragement from her story.