Angelina Jolie Reveals Double Mastectomy: “My Children Don’t Need to Fear They Will Lose Me”
Moms sacrifice a lot for their children every day, and while it may seem like celebrity moms sometimes don’t have to give at the same level — what with their virtual armies of nannies, cooks, trainers, and stylists — we can’t help but be moved when we find out they’re just like regular people after all.
In what was a very brave and no doubt difficult decision, actress and director Angelina Jolie wrote a moving piece in Tuesday’s edition of the New York Times about her choice to move forward with double mastectomy surgery, as a preventative measure to lessen her chances of developing breast cancer.
The mother of six’s op-ed, titled “My Medical Decision,, was written in order to create awareness about the preventative measure when dealing with cancer. In it, she shares that she discovered she is a carrier of the mutant gene, BRCA1, which significantly increases the risk of contracting breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie’s ancestry is Ashkanazi Jewish, and she reveals how she inherited the breast cancer gene from her mother, Marcheline Bertrand. Bertand fought cancer for almost a decade, and passed away at age 56.
It must have been a heartbreaking decision to make, but Jolie knows better than anyone what it’s like to have a mother pass away too soon. The fact that she was able to keep such a huge secret for so long is amazing for someone who lives in a paparazzi fishbowl, which makes her decision to come forward even more brave.
Her decision will hopefully make more women comfortable about coming forward and taking action for cancer prevention. The actress suggested that women can find out if they are carriers of the mutant gene through a simple blood test, and that they should become aware if they’re “highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer.”
Jolie describes her surgery details in depth, no doubt to make it easier for people wrestling with the decision themselves. The actress even describes her new implants in a positive light, saying, “There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful.”
She also admits that while the decision was not an easy one, that it was worth it for the sake of her children. Her chance of developing cancer has gone from 87% to under 5%. In her emotional words she says, “I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer. ”She adds, “It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can.”
We admire Jolie for coming forward at what must be a challenging time to help make the world a more aware, empowering place for women everywhere, and we wish her continued good health.