Angelina Jolie has revealed that she has undergone a double mastectomy after learning that she carries a gene which predisposes women to breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Jolie, whose doctor estimated that she had an 87% likelihood of contracting breast cancer and a 50% likelihood of contracting ovarian cancer, lost her mother to breast cancer.
RELATED: Stars show support for Jolie's decision
to the New York Times that one she learned of her predisposition, she decided to get preventative surgery. She underwent three invasive medical procedures, including getting implants, over the course of three months.
Jolie was able to keep her ordeal private, but ultimately decided to share her story "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 will able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."
Jolie says that
Brad Pitt was by her side throughout the procedures. "Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries," she says. "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."
She says that though the decision wasn't an easy one, she's now glad she made it, particularly because her children can rest assured that they won't lose their mother to breast cancer.
"It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable," says Jolie. "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."