Hollywood celebrity Angelina Jolie revealed in a New York Times editorial published on May 14 that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy earlier this year after learning that she has a high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

In the article, Angelina stated that she carried the BRCA1 gene, which greatly increases her risk of developing the dreaded disease.

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“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” she had written.

“Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could... 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.”

The actress said that she chose to tell her story so she can empower other women who are at risk for breast cancer to do something to prevent the development of the disease.

“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,” she wrote.

(Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons)

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