In a stunning and heartfelt op-ed piece for the New York Times, Angelina Jolie made a shocking reveal: she underwent a double mastectomy. Yes, that means that she had the tissue from both of her breasts removed.
Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, she got implants, and yes, she kept her nipples.
No, she doesn’t have breast cancer, and now it's far more likely that she never will. Her mom died of cancer, and Angelina has the BRCA1 gene, which puts her at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer — her doctors put it at 87 percent and 50 percent, respectively — and the mastectomy is a simpler surgery than an oophorectomy (ovary removal).
Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.
So why did she take to the New York Times op-ed section about her double mastectomy? “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 [...] I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”
She adds that her partner Brad Pitt was super supportive throughout the process, which makes him even more of a dreamboat and all-around great guy:
I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. 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.
Good for Angelina! Not just for doing what she thought was best for her health and family, but having the courage to tell the tale.
The whole piece is totally worth a read! In addition to the whoa factor, Angelina is pretty funny — she even adds that when you wake up, “it does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film.”