Angelina Jolie is sharing some very personal information; she underwent a preventative double mastectomy in order to create awareness of the preventative surgery.
The very private star opened up to The New York Times about her decision to move forward with the series of procedures that would lower her risk of developing breast cancer. Her mother fought the disease for over a decade and passed at the age of 56. Thanks to genetic testing, Jolie later found out that she carried a gene that increased her own risk by 87%.
In the letter to the paper, Jolie detailed the three months of procedures, including a “nipple delay” and reconstructive surgery, which lowered her risk to below 5%. She also touched on the support she received from Brad Pitt and her six children that motivated her to undergo the process in the first place. “[They] know that I love them and will do anything to with them as long as I can,” she explained. “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.”
She wanted to share her brave story to provide women with options, especially to those who have a family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer. Jolie noted that the gene testing she received was over $3,000 in the U.S. alone, which can be an obstacle for many women. In doing so, she’s prompting conversations to assist lower income families to get access to the test. She also urged readers to turn to medical experts and become informed of what preventative measures they can take. “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 concluded. “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”