Angelina Jolie revealed this week that she had a double mastectomy. The 37 year-old mother of six, activist, actress, director, and U.N. Ambassador, said she had three months of medical procedures prior to the surgery. The mastectomies involved were completed April 27.
Jolie’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer at the age of fifty-six.
After taking a test that showed she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer, and 50% chance of ovarian cancer, Jolie elected to act now in order to decrease her odds of dying from the same disease that took her mother.
So why did Angelina release this information to the public?"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," Jolie said in the Times article. "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."Jolie said that her partner, Brad Pitt, who calls her, 'heroic,' was present for the surgeries. Her six children, who range in age from 11 to 4, were not uncomfortable when they saw their mom after her surgery. Jolie's medical procedures also included reconstructive surgery.
"They can see my small scars and that’s it," Jolie wrote. "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."Angelina Jolie shares more in her very enlightening New York Times, Op-Ed letter, 'My Medical Choice.' (A beautiful and highly recommended read)
"I wanted 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," the actress wrote. "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."She has given women a wonderful gift by letting the public know of how she made the brave decision and how she has dealt with it, and deals with it now. She also pointed out that the original test showing her high cancer risk, costs more than three thousand dollars in the United States, and is out of reach for many vulnerable women. Given her past history of taking on goodwill causes, I won't be surprised if she takes on this cause as well.
Some celebrities and cancer survivors chimed in to publicly applauded Jolie's decision to have the surgeries, and to share the news:"I commend Angelina Jolie for her courage and thoughtfulness in sharing her story today regarding her mastectomy. So brave!" wrote Sheryl Crow, a breast cancer survivor herself.I personally have had great respect for this incredible woman for many years. I think I first started taking notice in 2001, when she began spending time in Cambodia helping refugees. Jolie was then appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador. In Cambodia, she adopted her first child and became a single mother. Later with her partner, Brad Pitt , she adopted two more children rescuing them from a devastating fate in third world countries, Jolie's strength, independence and continuous acts of goodness prove her to be a shining example to women. Moreover, Angelina Jolie is a shining example to the world.
"Brave, honest strong," said Oscar winner Marlee Matlin.
"Proud of her for using her incredible platform to educate women," added E! host Giuliana Rancic, who underwent a double mastectomy in 2011.
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