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Jolie undergoes preventative double Mastectomy

Angelina Jolie and her husband Brad Pitt   -REUTERS FILE

Angelina Jolie and her husband Brad Pitt -REUTERS FILE

LONDON, May 14 (Reuters) - Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has had a double mastectomy to reduce her chances of getting breast cancer and says she hopes her story will inspire other women fighting the life-threatening disease.

Jolie wrote in the New York Times on Tuesday the operation has made it easier for her to reassure her six children that she would not die young from cancer, like her own mother did at 56.

"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, 37.

"I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a 'faulty' gene."

The Oscar-winning actress said 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.

Partner and fellow Hollywood star Brad Pitt was by Jolie's side through three months of treatment that ended late in April, she said. The two got engaged last year.

Jolie said that even though she had kept silent about her treatment while it was going on, she hoped her story would now help other women.

"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 some 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.

Her decision was hailed by breast cancer patients and charities.

Richard Francis, Head of Research at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity in Britain, said it demonstrated the importance of educating women with the gene fault.

"For women like Angelina it's important that they are made fully aware of all the options that are available, including risk-reducing surgery and extra breast screening," Francis told Reuters.

Breast Cancer Campaign Chief Executive Baroness Delyth Morgan said Jolie's openness in talking about her experience and her decision to have surgery would raise awareness of the disease and its risk.

Jolie won a 1999 best supporting actress Oscar for "Girl, Interrupted".

She lends her star power to a range of humanitarian campaigns, including serving more than 10 years as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

In April, she urged governments to step up efforts to bring wartime sex offenders to justice.

Comments

KaosinAlbany 11 months ago

Thank you for coming out with your story, Angelina. You are a true advocate. Your story is inspiring.

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erock 11 months ago

Maybe while they got her aleep they might could do something with that face. Don't know what that boy was thinking, getting rid of Jennifer for Mrs. Skelator.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 11 months ago

That is a very hateful thing to say.

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KaosinAlbany 11 months ago

She is drop dead gorgeous to me. I love her facial features.

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USTPC 11 months ago

Okay, am I the only one that is having trouble understanding why she did this? This was not a case of having breast cancer it was a case of possibly getting breast cancer. Every woman has the possibility of getting breast cancer so should every woman have a double mastectomy? All men have the possibility of prostate cancer, should they opt to have their prostate removed just in case? Someone please explain the logic.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 11 months ago

The article said that her doctors gave her an 87% chance of getting breast cancer due to hereditary factors.

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USTPC 11 months ago

Okay, but that is still less than 100% and leaves the possibility that she would never get it. If the risk was that high then it would make sense to get a mammogram every year or twice a year or even every three months and IF cancer showed up then have the surgery.

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agirl_25 11 months ago

Having the double mastectomy now means she won't have to worry about breast cancer, but could get ovarian cancer because of the genetic disposition to it. If she has the mastectomy now and the breast reconstruction she won't have to wait and see if she is going to get breast cancer......as the cure is sometimes worse to go thru than the initial mastectomy and follow up chemo..whether it be via oral administration (pills for up to 5 years) or IV chemo..which is sometimes very hard on a person. Don't take the topic so lightly as you could someday have a wife, sister, or other family member, even a male member...with breast cancer. Yes, a male member. We lost a male cousin to breast cancer when he was only 34 and more and more males are dying of the disease than past years. I would recommend males check themselves too, just as women are told to. Hopefully you do testicular tests when you shower? Chest exams are just as easy and take a few minutes, and isn't your life worth a few minutes?

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RedEric 11 months ago

She took a terrible risk. Those could have been her brains. Next up is a liptectomy.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

FROM WHAT I CAN SEE THERE WASN'T MUCH TO REMOVE. SKINNY BAG OF BONES. MAYBE SHE'LL GET A MOVIE DEAL.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

HOW IS THIS NEWS? INSPIRATION FROM AN ID-JIT?

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Sister_Ruby_Two 11 months ago

Hopefully they will be preserved for Science.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

HER WHOLE LOOK IS PLASTIC AND CREEPY. UGH!!!

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 11 months ago

Being a male I cannot imagine how difficult of a decision this was for Ms. Jolie. You are a brave woman, Angelina.

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Abytaxpayer 11 months ago

Maybe by her action of Public awareness she will say a life. Maybe even someone you know. At least people are taking about breast cancer openly now and not trying to keep it hidden in the closet while it is killing more women.

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MRKIA 11 months ago

IF NOT FOR HER NAME THIS WOULD NEVER MAKE PRINT.

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