Angelina Jolie has undergone a double mastectomy to lower her chances of contracting breast cancer.
The Hollywood actress and mum-of-six has revealed that doctors told her that she carried the ‘faulty gene’ BRCA1, meaning there was an 87% chance of her contracting breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer (the percentage is different for each individual).
Angelina writes in the New York Times, “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.
“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% to under 5%. I can tell me children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer,” Angelina continues.
Angelina, who describes in detail the process she has gone through – from her original consultation, to surgery, to husband Brad Pitt’s support – explains how her children have coped:
“They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can.”
Angelina adds, “We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has.”
For more information on the BRCA1 gene visit the Cancer Research UK website.