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Angelina Jolie Opens Up About Her Double Mastectomy

Update Date: May 14, 2013 09:41 AM EDT

One of the more popular celebrities to date, Angelina Jolie, has opened up a piece of her life for the world to see. Once again, the actress turned humanitarian, has found another way to help educate young women and men, and open up more conversation about breast cancer. In an opinion piece published by The New York Times titled My Medical Choice, Jolie reveals her decision to get a double mastectomy even though she does not have breast cancer.

In the eye-opening piece, Jolie dives into her memories with her mother, who battled cancer for nearly a decade and succumbed to it at the age of 56. Jolie discovered early that she carries what is known as a 'faulty' gene called BRCA1. Simply having this gene increased one's chances of getting breast cancer by 65 percent. According to her doctors, her risk for developing breast cancer was 87 percent and for ovarian cancer, it was 50 percent.  

Jolie writes, "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 preventable double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian caner, and the surgery is more complex."

Jolie hopes that her story can inform other women about the benefits of preventative double mastectomy. Jolie described her three month long journey. Two weeks into February, Jolie had her breast tissue removed in an eight hour-long surgery. Nine weeks after that, Jolie underwent reconstructive surgery and received implants. Now, her chances of getting breast cancer fell to under five percent.

She adds in her piece, "For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspects of your life, and to make your own informed choices."

Although this procedure might not be for every one, for Jolie, it is another chance to have a longer life with her family.

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