Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Angelina Jolie Gets Mastectomy; Writes a Powerful Message

Angelina Jolie wrote a piece for the New York Times opening up about having a double mastectomy as a preventive measure, since she carried the "faulty" BRCA1 gene, which can increase the risk of breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer in some women. She had the surgeries over three months time, keeping it all a close secret until now. Her mother also died of cancer, which was obviously a factor in this tough decision.

Her piece is very moving and also very informative, and I would urge people to read it, which you can find here. This was an outstanding way to help raise awareness and hopefully encourage others to not have any fear. If you're curious what Jolie is up to film-wise, she can next be seen in the anticipated film Maleficent, due out summer 2014.

Here are some excerpts from the op-ed 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. 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. 

On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved. During that time I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work. 

But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.

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. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer. 

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. 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment