Angelina Jolie has revealed in an op-ed in today’s New York Times that she has recently finished undergoing a series of operations that resulted in a double mastectomy. Pointing out that her own mother died of breast cancer at the age of 56, and that she herself carried the “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which makes her susceptible to both breast, and ovarian cancer, Jolie, writes of weighing the odds that she would develop breast cancer, killer of 458,000 women every year throughout the world. The most shocking aspect of all of this is that Jolie, who can’t walk down the street without getting her photo taken, has managed to keep all of this secret for months.
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.
It’s clearly an important issue, and one that Jolie didn’t take lightly, and for good reason. If anything good will come of it, besides potentially saving her own life, it’s the renewed attention to the disease that her admission will bring. As she writes:
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.
Read the rest here.