In an op-ed in the New York Times, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie revealed she had undergone a double mastectomy in order to prevent getting breast cancer in the future.
In the article, http://nyti.ms/YGbOri, Jolie aid her mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56, giving some insight into the major decision.
"My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman," said Jolie. "Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.
"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, Jolie siad she finished three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved.
After keeping the surgeries private, Jolie siad she decided to go public with the news, "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.
"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."
Each year, more than 230,000 women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.