Angelina Jolie has revealed she had a top secret preventative double mastectomy in order to lower her chances of getting cancer.
In a new article for the New York Times, the 37-year-old actress opens up about losing her mother to ovarian cancer and why she decided to take action early on so she could live a long happy life with her kids.
"We often speak of 'Mommy’s mommy,' and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us," she shares. "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."
Angie goes on to explain that doctors estimated she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. After having received the news, she decide to have the surgery.
"On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved," says the Oscar winner, who has 6 kids with fiancé Brad Pitt. She began her own process on Feb. 2, where she underwent a procedure known as a 'nipple delay' - a surgery that increases the chance of saving the nipple. "During that time I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work."
She explains she decided to go public with her story in hopes that women can benefit from her experience and take the necessary measures to see if they are susceptible to the cancers.
"Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant," she writes. "There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful."
Since having the operation, Angie's chances of developing breast cancer has dropped to under five percent. She says, "I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."
"They know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can," she shares. "On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."
And who was there for her every step of the way? None other than Brad Pitt, whom she calls "so loving and supportive."
"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," Angie states. "We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has."
The actress and director says her regimen will be posted on Pink Lotus Breast Cancer's website in the near future.