Angelina Jolie Reveals She Had a Double Mastectomy

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In an op-ed piece for the The New York Times, Oscar winning actress and mother-of-six Angelina Jolie reveals that she recently underwent a preventive double mastectomy.

In the article, the37-year-old actress goes into great detail about how her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, fought ovarian cancer for almost a decade before dying from the disease at 56 years old.

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After being told by doctors that she carried a "faulty gene" that increases the chances of breast and ovarian cancer -- with an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of the latter -- Jolie decided to be proactive and have a double mastectomy.

Here are some excerpts from the article:

"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."

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"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."

"But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people's hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action..."

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"…I wanted to 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. 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.”

For the full New York Times article, click here.