Angelina Jolie (Getty)
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (Getty).
In a New York Times op-ed piece published late Monday evening, the actress explains that she made the difficult decision based on her family history of breast cancer (Jolie's mother died from the disease at the age of 56), and the fact that she carries the BRCA1 gene, which greatly increases a woman's risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.
"My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer," Jolie writes in the piece. "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."
Jolie says she finished the three months of medical procedures involved in the double mastectomy process on April 27. The actress was able to keep the matter private and to continue working thanks in large part, she says, to partner Brad Pitt, who was there with her through every step of the process.
"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," Jolie shares, adding that she hopes sharing her own story will help other women who are going through the same process.
"I choose not to keep my story private 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."
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