Angelina Jolie made the brave decision to undergo a double mastectomy even though she wasn’t diagnosed with breast cancer. And after recovering from the surgery, she made another tough decision — the very private celeb decided to share her story.
Angie wrote an op-ed for the New York Times revealing the reasons behind her difficult decision to get a double mastectomy at age 37. The actress’ mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died from ovarian cancer when she was just 56, so Jolie knows just how devastating and deadly cancer can be. And since she knows what it’s like to lose a mother much too soon, she’s probably doing whatever she can to save her six children from suffering the same loss.
Angie opted to undergo a double mastectomy because genetic testing revealed that she carries a “faulty” BRCA1 gene that greatly increases her chance of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. After spending three months having her breasts removed and reconstructed, her risk of developing breast cancer has dropped from “87 percent to under 5 percent.”
Angelina Jolie has long been considered one of the sexiest women in the world, and she made it clear that having her breasts removed doesn’t make her feel any less beautiful by sharing this message: “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.” Brad Pitt labeled his ladylove “absolutely heroic,” and Angie said that she was even able to laugh a few times during her difficult journey. Her decision to go public with her story was also applauded by Dr. Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer Research U.K. “It’s a very empowering message that women are not helpless when faced with a genetic cancer risk,” he said of her op-ed piece.
Angie’s decision to share her story was a smart move — it might inspire other women who have a family history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer to undergo genetic testing, and it might help others who are making similar difficult decisions or trying to recover from their own cancer surgeries.
If Angie needs a little inspiration herself, maybe she should check out the stories of these stars who have also underwent double mastectomies:
This “Anchorman” actress underwent a double mastectomy in 2008 after being diagnosed with breast cancer and finding out that she also had the BRCA1 gene. The blonde bombshell admitted that she suffered a “total emotional collapse” after her surgery and that she misses her “exquisite breasts,” but she’s also been able to joke about her breast cancer battle. She optimistically told “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts, “I’m going to have the best boobs in the nursing home.”
This comedian was also capable of wise-cracking about her double mastectomy. She discovered that she had breast cancer when she went in for a breast reduction because she was “tired of knocking over stuff.” She opted to have both breasts removed because she discovered a family history of breast cancer. Wanda admits that she struggled with depression when she first had to deal with the devastating task of changing the bandages on her surgery scars, but she eventually started to feel like her old self again. During an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” she quipped, “How many things could I have? I’m black, then lesbian. I can’t be the poster child for everything. At least with the LGBT issues we get a parade, we get a float. It’s a party. I was real hesitant about doing this because I hate walking. I got a lot of walks coming up.”
This E! News host is used to reporting on celebrity news, so she was prepared to go public with her own personal story back in 2011 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a lumpectomy was unable to remove the cancer from her body, she opted to undergo a double mastectomy. She also admitted that her recovery was difficult because she was in so much pain that she couldn’t dress herself or get in and out of bed, but there was one big reason she wanted to make sure that she beat cancer by any means necessary — she wanted to have children, and she wanted to be around for them and hubby Bill Rancic as long as possible. She and Bill welcomed a baby boy named Edward Duke via surrogate in 2012, and this is what Rancic said about her roller coaster ride of a year during a “Today” interview: “It’s funny, this was the best year of my life because of the baby and it was the worst year of my life because of the breast cancer. But it just goes to show that if you’re strong and positive, great things can come from the darkness of your life.”
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