Despite the fact that Oscar winner Angelina Jolie cherishes her privacy especially when it comes to family matters and such, she went public with her decision to have a double mastectomy after learning she possessed the BRCA1 defective gene — making her risk of developing breast cancer a 87 percent likelihood.
Although the decision to cut off her two breasts in a bid to prevent her high chances of having breast cancer may seem rather rash or come as a shock to some, those who know Jolie well also are not surprised by her decision. While one of her oldest friend said Jolie “…understands how she can use her celebrity to bring attention to important issues.”, a close associate said Jolie did it for her family.
“Angie wants to not only be there to see her six kids grow up, she has the most supportive mate in Brad [Pitt], who was totally behind both her decision to have the surgery and her decision to write that op-ed piece in the [New York]Times revealing it all. In that essay, Jolie pointed to the loss of her beloved mother, Marcheline Bertrand, to ovarian cancer at age 56, as making her decision a no-brainer because she “will do anything to be with [her children] as long as I can.”
In the op-ed column that she wrote in the New York Times, Jolie gave the reason for her decision.
“We often speak of ‘Mommy’s mommy,’ and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me,” wrote Jolie.
“I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a ‘faulty’ gene.”
“Once I knew this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy,” she said.
Actress and humanitarian campaigner Angelina Jolie speaks at a news conference on
sexual violence against women during the G8 Foreign Ministers Meeting in central London
April 11, 2013. Credit: ReutersAlastair/Files
Brad Pitt who got engaged to Jolie last year was by her side through the three months of treatment that ended late in April.
According to him, “Having witnessed this decision firsthand, I find Angie’s choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic… All I want is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children. This is a happy day for our family.”
Jolie opted for reconstruction with implants. Breast tissue was removed during surgery and temporary fillers were inserted in their place. Nine weeks later the surgery was completed with the implants.
“On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman,” she wrote. “I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”
The actress decided to be open about her surgery after finishing treatment to help women who might be living under the shadow of cancer.
“It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested,” she said.
She also said her breast cancer risk had dropped to under 5 percent as a result of her decision.