Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Angelina Jolie: My double mastectomy

jolieherp.jpg

Angelina Jolie has undergone a double mastectomy in a bid to prevent breast cancer.

The actress made the courageous decision after being told by doctors that she had an 87% risk of contracting breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of contracting ovarian cancer.

Jolie, whose mother battled the disease for 10 years before her death at 56, said it was her six children who prompted her to undergo the preventative procedure.

In a moving article she wrote for The New York Times, the 37-year-old said: "They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer."

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt with their six children - who Jolie says influenced her operation decision

Jolie had three months of medical procedures, including having her breasts surgically reconstructed, and detailed the operations she underwent earlier this year.

"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."

She told of how her children now "don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer" and how she felt lucky to have "loving and supportive" partner Brad Pitt.

"Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has."

British breast cancer campaigner Wendy Watson praised Jolie as a "brave lady, who will be an inspiration to many."

Watson underwent a double mastectomy in 1996, when little was known about hereditary breast cancer and doctors were reluctant to perform the procedure.

Since then, she has overseen The National Hereditary Breast Cancer Helpline since her own operation, to provide support to patients and their families.

Words: Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex Features

Related

169513483.jpg

Cannes Film Festival 2013: red carpet round-up

hero.jpg

Modern Floral Scents

hero20s.jpg

50 Style icons of the 1920s

More

Chris Brown tried to excuse his attack on Rihanna, and it’s not OK

“Violence is a choice he made – and he alone is responsible for it”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Serena Williams on how skin colour affects what people think of her

“I feel like people think I’m mean”

by Amy Swales
17 Aug 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Pink keeping it real to Ellen Degeneres’ sweet anniversary message

by Nicola Colyer
17 Aug 2017

This Hocus Pocus star’s pregnancy announcement is pure 90s perfection

“I smell children…”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Anna Faris on knowing when to call time on an unhappy relationship

“Don’t be afraid to seek your independence”

by Kayleigh Dray
17 Aug 2017

Why Taylor Swift’s sexual assault verdict is a victory for womankind

The pop star has completely changed the narrative

by Kayleigh Dray
16 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton defends Donald Trump from sexual assault allegations

“I think [the women] are just trying to get attention and get fame...”

by Moya Crockett
16 Aug 2017

The personality trait that Mindy Kaling hopes to pass on to her baby

Kaling gets real about motherhood as she confirms her pregnancy

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton describes the emotional fallout of her 2001 sex tape

“I could not leave my house for months”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017

Taylor Swift wins sexual assault case for “anyone who feels silenced”

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017