Hollywood actress and United Nations ambassador, Angelina Jolie, underwent a double mastectomy between early February and late April. The mother of six and partner of Brad Pitt recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times discussing her decision to undergo such an invasive procedure.
Due to the death of Jolie's mother, who lost her own battle with breast cancer, the actress went through genetic testing only to discover she carried the BRCA 1 gene and had an 87 percent chance of being diagnosed with the disease herself.
Jolie writes her mother died at the age of 56 after battling breast cancer for almost a decade. She also includes that her mother lived just long enough to meet and hold the first of her grandchildren, but unfortunately, because of breast cancer, her children will never have the chance to get to know such a loving and gracious woman.
“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,” Jolie writes. “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.”
In her op-ed, Jolie does not shy away from intimate details regarding her multiple surgeries for the double mastectomy.
“My own process began on Feb. 2 with a procedure known as a 'nipple delay,'” she writes, “which rules out disease in the breast ducts behind the nipple and draws extra blood flow to the area.” The main surgery occurred two weeks later where breast tissue was removed, in which Jolie describes as “a scene from a science-fiction film.” Nine weeks later, she underwent another surgery to reconstruct her breasts and received implants.
Jolie stands by her surgery with pride and encourages other women to look into genetic testing for breast cancer. I do not feel any less of a woman,” she writes. “I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.
She also included that Brad Pitt, her partner of eight years, was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Southern California for “every minute of the surgeries.”