Angelina Jolie is a very private person. She is also young and healthy, which is why it was shocking to read her announcement in the NY Times that she has had a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of getting breast cancer. You can read the whole thing here
. She says she hopes her story will inspire other women fighting the life-threatening disease.
After her mother died, of cancer, at 56....Angelina underwent testing to see if she also carried the gene that is linked to a higher risk of cancer. She found out that she also
carries the 'faulty' gene." She says her doctors had estimated she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
"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.
"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. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested."
Breast cancer alone kills about 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization. It is estimated that one in 300 to one in 500 women carry a BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutation, as Jolie does. If you have a history of breast or ovarian cancer in your family, please talk to your doctor about testing. Knowledge is power and knowledge gives you options!
Thank you for using your celebrity spotlight to raise awareness and save lives, Angelina. We wish you and your family all the best as you heal.