Angelina Jolie Had a Double Mastectomy

In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, Angelina Jolie reveals that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy. Wait, what?! Holy. Crap.

Angelina explains that she made the decision after discovering she carried the faulty BRCA1 gene which increases a woman’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

She implied that the main factors which influenced her decision were her mother dying from ovarian cancer at 56 after battling it for a decade and not wanting her loved ones to have to go through the same thing.

On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved. During that time I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work.

But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.

My own process began on Feb. 2 with a procedure known as a “nipple delay,” which rules out disease in the breast ducts behind the nipple and draws extra blood flow to the area. This causes some pain and a lot of bruising, but it increases the chance of saving the nipple.

Two weeks later I had the major surgery, where the breast tissue is removed and temporary fillers are put in place. The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life.

Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.

After the surgery, Angelina says, “My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87% to under 5%. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.” She went on to thank Brad Pitt for being “so loving and supportive. ”

The reason for sharing her story was 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, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.”

If you had any notion that Angelina Jolie”s humanitarian efforts were part of some elaborately constructed facade, you can wipe that from your mind. Revealing something this deeply personal shows that she really does want to user her fame to help people. I mean, this isn’t normally something a person would shout from the rooftops which is what Angelina basically did here.

And I know this is going to be in poor taste but I heard the first thing Jennifer Aniston did when she read this was yell over to Justin Theroux and smirk, “Did you hear about Angelina Jolie? Bitch got implants!”

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