The mother of six revealed her brave experience in a self-penned piece entitled My Medical Choice in The New York Times. The 37 year-old made the decision to have both her breasts removed after being told by doctors she had the BRCA1 cancer gene.
Jolie’s mother Marcheline Bertrand died in 2007 at the age of 56, after battling ovarian cancer.
“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 per cent risk of breast cancer and a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman”, Jolie explains.
“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.”
Jolie’s surgery was a success and doctors have confirmed her chances of developing breast cancer are now less than five per cent.
“I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer”, she said.
Angelina’s story is not unique – many women have been forced to make a choice like this when faced with the risk of cancer.