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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Angelina Jolie reveals she had double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer

The 37 year old actress and mother of six wrote an article in the New York Times today May 14th revealing she underwent a double mastectomy earlier this year after a blood test showed she was genetically susceptible to cancer. Doctors told her she had an 87% risk of getting breast cancer. Her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died at the age of 56 after battling with cancer for almost a decade.

Mastectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely.

Angelina Jolie said she went through a series of medical procedures from February till April 2013 to have her breasts removed and then reconstructed. And she says Brad Pitt stood by her side every step of the way. Read Angelina's article NY Times article after the cut...


My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was. 

We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer

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. 

Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average. 

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. 

My own process began on Feb. 2 with a procedure known as a “nipple delay,” which rules out disease in the breast ducts behind the nipple and draws extra blood flow to the area. This causes some pain and a lot of bruising, but it increases the chance of saving the nipple. 

Two weeks later I had the major surgery, where the breast tissue is removed and temporary fillers are put in place. The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life. 

Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful. 

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. 

I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. 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. 

For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices. 

I acknowledge that there are many wonderful holistic doctors working on alternatives to surgery. My own regimen will be posted in due course on the Web site of the Pink Lotus Breast Center. I hope that this will be helpful to other women. 

Breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women. 

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. 

Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of. 

130 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks angelina you are a pace setter......beautiful woman

kenny2face said...

I can imagine d 'fear of d unknown' dat led 2 dis sad& life changing decision! Sigh! Kenny

Amah said...

Rily hapi 4 her n nice 1 @ brad pitt!!

Anonymous said...

Excuse for boob job, when r u hving ur oophorectomy & make sure u refuse hrt to convince me u mean business

Millz said so said...

My prayers are with her, cancer is so deadly, killed my grandma.I hope that Nigeria's health system can be this good. Linda u are now rockin wit Millz

Gloria Aniagolu Ogunoh said...

Missed you Angie. Glad you are okay now. Thank God. Love you and Brady. Super couple.

Millz said so said...

My prayers are with her, cancer is so deadly, killed my grandma.I hope that Nigeria's health system can be this good. @Linda u are now rockin wit Millz, get used to it.

★★PRINCE CHARMING™★★ said...

A stitch in time saves nine! With her natural breasts removed and reconstructed ones implanted, you wouldn't even know the difference and the breast cancer treat would be reduced much, technology good o!

M.E.D said...

Wow bold step!

Naijatodawunmi said...

I don't understand y Nigerians like makin a mountain out of a moth-hill. In my opinion,she did d right thing.I knw wat it feels like to av sumone under d grips of cancer.

Anonymous said...

I love this woman die!!!!!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! I love you!!!!!!! #d.
*no homo

Anonymous said...

Wow! So true about the death rate associated with breast cancer and other types of cancer. I pray and wish that one day there will be a cure for it....something less painful and easy. Thumbs up Angelina for sharing your experience. And for everyone going through this process or battling with cancer...keep hope alife, the Lord is your strength. God bless you Linda for this post.

Anonymous said...

u are really brave to make dat strong decision..,life continues but women should be alert always

B.O.B (f) said...

Nice piece 4rm u jolie,bt it frigthens me weneva I hear d word cancer,may God help us all

mixzy ZEE said...

And plz, u 4got 2 tell us how much d surgery cost.

Chikaka said...

If she's genetically susceptible to cancer, it could manifest somewhere else in her body. I hope not though.

Anonymous said...

Just passing by

ada eze said...

Angelina dat was a very bold move u made.....hmmmm!

Anonymous said...

A very wise decision. What is beauty and fame without life?

Anonymous said...

good for her
unto d next news
HYBunny

Anonymous said...

A very wise decision. What is beauty and fame without life???

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! This woman is so strong

BONARIO NNAGS said...

awww! quite heart-attending.

~BONARIO~says so via NOKIA3310

Ameriestyle said...

Wow, very well said. Thank God The surgery was successful.
www.ameriestyle.com

betties said...

Wow,speechless! God help us all!

Anonymous said...

I've always admired this woman's courage. I love Angelina Jolie. I pray your operation leads to a permanent solution for you.Amen

Anonymous said...

So touching and ispiring.good she shared...just wondering how long it will take for the technology which determines ovarian and breast cancer thru azblood test to come sub saharian africa.God bless us all.
Princess

Anonymous said...

Oh.! 4her mind she get moni tu du Maspectomy.., why not provide free medical servic tu poor women in d villa, oda dan robbing of ur nudity-gotten wealth in our faces,...mchteww

BARBIE......... said...

What a brave move Angelina Jolie.
u are truly an icon.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a bold step. May God protect us from cancer. I'll be going 4 mammogram soon because of the funny feelings I've been having on my breast. It's advisable for people to pay attention to their health. Cancer is deadlier than AIDS.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear! What a strong woman. U will live long Angelina Jolie. That's my prayer for you

Anonymous said...

Good advice to all women all over the world Thanks Angelina.

ifyody said...

Angelie....not just about d surgery, may it be d will of d Almighty God to sustain ur life.thanks for sharing d knowledge & experience.all d best.

anonymous# said...

Takes a lot of courage to have a double mastectomy especially when illness isn't symptomatic. Way to go Angelina.

LawAbidingCitizen said...

Great decision Angie, God bless u.

fredrick said...

She's such a strong woman

reggy said...

awww,this cancer of a fn sef,thanks 4 reminding us,wil b going for checkup too,i never wan die

Anonymous said...

Must have been a hard decision but certainly very inspiring. Wish we had such equipment here in Naija to help women @ an affordable price. May God keep u long enough Jolie.

Anonymous said...

So touching! Wat a brave woman,my role model.breast cancer is so real it scares me.its getting worse everyday,spreading all over t'he world.

Anonymous said...

Very encouraging

yvonne said...

Yea cos d system is working.nt nigeria here where it takes donkeys years 2 dictate typhoid.

Anonymous said...

omgg..my aunty died of breast cancer...d signs whre dare but due 2 oversight she found it too late..:(

YINOTINTO said...

this is serious o. may God heal u and keep u alive for ur children and grand kids to come. #Godheals

Anonymous said...

kachy said

she is without a doubt one of the most beautiful women ever born and to all the women living or ve passed away with cancer may God be with you and your family and may cancer become only a Zodiac sign soon
linda pls post this Angie is my IDOL

Jbaby said...

Brave woman. Jus like in d movies

mrs shrek biols said...

How much will it cost? Now that saying don't judge a book by its cover applies I now know y she has bn adopting kids! * fear of the unknown*

Anonymous said...

Strong lady!!! May God keep u strong,dat was a very brave step....I pray dis advancement comes to Nigeria,so @ least it can reduce the rate of cancer.....

Bola Olagunju said...

This woman is a huge inspiration to women everywhere...I love u hun

Karl Malkovïch said...

Thats wise of her!! Wishing her goodluck sha..... Our women need to be more conscious abt this dreadful disease called cancer!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Well we still love them boobs tho! Masectomy or not...

Anonymous said...

Cancer used to be 1 in 10 in women but now its 4 in 10 what the hell is going on.

Nedu20 said...

I love this article...

It's quite encourage

Tricia said...

A hard but very important decision to make. Going for medical checks on ur status on cancer can save u nd ur family a lot of trauma in future. Angelina jolie a strong woman indeed.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story. Am glad u have become the embodiment of good virture. Well done Angelina. May ur healiNg be permanent.

Dozie said...

Brave woman...

Anonymous said...

thx for posting this here... this just confirm all I've been studying... I trust my lecturer she will mention this in class... I'm sure I'll do all the talking afta I'd told her I read the article. the test alone is $3000 you can imagine how much she paid for the surgery... Ladies be assured that before the next 2 decades it will be cheaper because a lot is being done right now on personalized medicine (Pharmacogenomics) yeah where I'll be specializing *winks* where is Africa in medical advancement? hmmm hmmm hmmm one day bush meat go catch the hunter that day aso rock go burn.

Anonymous said...

I love angelina J so much, words cnt express it . From her work with the UN and her roles in movies usually showing hw strong women can be and nw dis bold step. Wow GOD bless her and I pray soon there ll be a cure for Cancer.

Loving Mommy said...

Wow! is all I can say. Way to go AJ. Never really been a fan of hers, but these words! And from one mother to another, there couldn't be greater sacrifice to make to stay alive for your kids. I love my son to bits and would seriously consider such (if I can afford it, lol!). Hopefully, I'm not at risk.....God please......*on my knees*

Abigail said...

Wow.. I admire her courage 2 av taken such bold step n also be bold enough 2 say it.

Anonymous said...

I love angelina J so much, words cnt express it . From her work with the UN and her roles in movies usually showing hw strong women can be and nw dis bold step. Wow GOD bless her and I pray soon there ll be a cure for Cancer.

Abigail said...

Btw, she doesn't even look like the mother of six! Mehn, she's got her body structure intact. Me likey!

ijeoma ogbonna said...

It takes a strong mind to make such a decision.Brave woman,a lot of people will learn from dis.goodluck to u guys

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing! Luv me some AngelinaJolie!#noHomo

Anonymous said...

this is brave and highly commendable

frankinsense said...

I admire her courage.I've seen my aunt fight and loose a battle to breast cancer, trust me, its not, to wish ones enemy. She may have mitigated breast cancer, there's still ovarian and uterus! Ladies, pls check urselves regularly or once in 2yrs! It costs less than aa fumi hair.

Anonymous said...

Angelina tnx 4 letting it out,female folks ll learn and God strengthen you....most importantly Linda lee tnx 4 sharing wt us,God bless U! APRIL

IVORY CHI said...

THE LAST SENTENCE IS SO TRUE...BUT WITH GOD WE CAN TAKE CAREOF EVERYTHING

Anonymous said...

Awwwwww!God bless u dear

curvy ZO said...

no wonder she,s looking frail.....prevention is beta than cure....good decision

curvy ZO said...

no wonder she,s looking frail.....prevention is beta than cure....good decision

Anonymous said...

God bless oyibo people. Prevention is better than cure

Anonymous said...

Awwwww!!!

Anonymous said...

Awww Angelina Jolie... dts nice of her!!!!!!!

Being a mum totally changed her perspective on life.

She's so much more sweet and caring

fyne taste said...

Solid. Well done, well said.

¤Ozone baby¤ said...

Wow! Thankx for sharing ur experience Angie. It could really save a lot of lives. U remain one of my best Hollywood actresses.

Anonymous said...

Such is life

BLOGLORD said...

early detection saves!

Anonymous said...

Face ya fearz

LaQuotes said...

Thank God for her life,many have died from this.

Anonymous said...

Awwwwww thanks for sharing! Cancer and diabetis are bitches!

Anonymous said...

Threat..

Anonymous said...

@Anon b4 she 4 no b a pace setter na wa o

Minaj! said...

Weldone Angie! You did the right thing! Ignorance is a disease. Complacency is a disease!

Anonymous said...

Your a fool

Anonymous said...

Mad and senseless excuse for a human being. So after she took her time to explain all you could say is excuse for boob job. May God forgive ur ignorance

saint phonsz said...

in another news,i've missed Anuli Oputa here,Linda pls find her asap!!...LIBers no curse me o,i haf my reasons o.

Anonymous said...

I just love this woman. She's such an inspiration. God bless her home.

Anonymous said...

Linda go to Google images and Google windell middlebrooks (an american actor who appeared on zack and cody on deck) a show on disney channel. then Google asari dokubo's picures, they could pass for the same person.

Anonymous said...

Sad story but encouraging. Love u jolly. God keep u for ur kids. May ur generation not experience it in Jesus. Tears in my eye.

Louis Obiora said...

Technology is really working. I think it's nice of her to tell the whole world her story so the ignorant ones can benefit. #thumbs up jolie

curvy ZO said...

Chai, may God forgive dis ur childish comment, wit ur gbagaun, which villa u want her to provide free med service for? Is she de govt? Ewu cameroun.....dumb ass.

Anonymous said...

I hear her...but as someone said....how much was it? This is not for every Jill, Kate and Nancy o....I can imagine for average Jill like most people once one hear d cost of d surgery...Na prayer one go use pack am o and pray for d best....

So in as much that her story is inspiring...it's not very realistic to everyone.....

Anonymous said...

Damn.....I dnt know you nd I wish neva 2 meet someone like u in dis life and after.u ar wat is wrong with the world.

★★PRINCE CHARMING™★★ said...

*Threat

Pro Police said...

Yeah...
Jolie visited a relief camp close to Syrian border last year, the motherly smile on her face gave so many kids hope. Thank God she is ok.

The test and surgery cost are too expensive for ordinary Americans, talk more of Nigerians. I hope, FG, NGO and Drs will lend helping hands.

God will see us through, amen!

Anonymous said...

Go to yaba left for help

Anonymous said...

Na by force

Anonymous said...

Bia its inspiring and technology that determines and a blood test thank me later @princess u hav been relieved of ur job.nexxtt!

NONSO NNOLI said...

She stoops to conquer...

Anonymous said...

See ds retard oh u must be mad nd guess wot u stay mad so she shld nt save her life cos of poor women do u aV ny idea hw much Angelina nd Bradd hzz impacted on d less priViledged u ds ignorant baboon u aint gat nuffn to say shut ur suckeraway mouth trash

Anonymous said...

Trying to prove that ur a doctor. Dropping names. Jobless doctor. @anony 9:37

Anonymous said...

@anony 10:00..... She dint know u needed money. Next time your poor ass shd write her personally so she can give u hand downs as usual.
Lazy ass, dnt work for ur money. Wait for "Oyibo dash me." Imbe!

Anonymous said...

WoW...Bold step and eye opening too.

Anonymous said...

I read in the other post of someone suspecting PC to be Linda Ikeji. has it been confirmed? I suspect that too,i can give u guys reasons if u r interested

Anonymous said...

Scary story but brave step taken.

Anonymous said...

don't be frustrated there are cheaper companies where u can get your gene screened within 24hrs for as low as $1000 usd in america not in Nigeria. personal screening test... check ur family if there is history of cancer.... if yes ur chances of having this disease is high if no, its slim but that doesn't mean you can't develop cancer. genetic mutation can occur in our life's any time probably due to what we are suppose to environmental factors, lifestyle smoking, drinking heavily. so the only way you can be certain is by going for a blood test and having your gene screened (smile). same thing goes to hypertension (high blood pressure) my dad suffered from this condition, my mum too, I know my chances of having hypertension later in life is high so I have modify my life style, I don't smoke, I try to avoid drinking heavily, I try as much as I can to avoid salt in food, obesity is also a risk factor I sport regularly to keep fit and to enhance free flow of blood, I check my BP once a year or when ever I'm close to Dr freestyle checking... generally I try to adopt a healthy life style. some of the illness associated to HBP, include but are not limited to arteriosclerosis, stroke, myocardia infarction, cardiac death, end organ damage, kidney, liver etc So please know your family history today. where is Nigeria indeed Africa in science and technology?

Anonymous said...

Eheeen..Karen Igho please come and explain that your lie *coughs* sorry story about getting your boobs done to avoid breast cancer. Please what was the process? RME!

Anonymous said...

You are indeed a big fool....ode Iranu,people like u shouldn't say anything out of ur dumb skull and mouth,she can do her boobs if she wants to and not worry about what any damn person thinks or says,u are definitely an illiterate cos if u were not u would not have said what she said..she's an American and I'm a Nigerian American with the BRAC 1 genes my self and very soon I will be doing what she did, it's a way of preventing breast cancer, my mum passed away in her early 30 and so did my grand mum in her 40's,my older sister was diagnosed last yr but thank God she's cancer free now, had she known earlier she carried the genes maybe she would have thought of the preventive mastectomy other than go through series of surgeries and then the devilish chemotherapy...in summary next time if u don't know anything u shut u dirty stinking

amaka Anudu said...

Thanks Brad Pitt for staying beside Angelina Jolie all through. Wonderful couple.

Anonymous said...

You idiot! She is a UN ambassador and she adopted 3 kids what have YOU done for the planet today? Ewu!

Anonymous said...

Anon May 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM spill please.

Anonymous said...

This is an eye opener. Thanks so much

Aligora said...

Scary but encouraging. God bless you Angie

Anonymous said...

Beautiful n emotional write up! I read it n felt its realness! Not our fake 9ja stars like genevive nnaji who will hide everythn! We nid 2speak out especially when we are stars cos lots of pple are listening n learning! Thanks a lot Angelina... I love u 4ds. Ur children will nt b motherless

zoomzoomzoom said...

Angelina is a big inspiration to alot of women around the world. I just love this woman #nohomo.Her story is enlightening.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! Thank u linda for this post.. God Bless you Angelina Jolie, you are one loving and strong woman.

chichiluv said...

@ mrs. sheik biols - what are you talking about? she has two daughters knowing her mother died of cancer. she adopted those children because she wanted to not because of the "fear of the unknown" or so she doesn't pass on the cancer genes. her girls might take the same decision when they are older but for now they are little babies.

Anonymous said...

some commenter here na wah to una o!!! When Karen Igho did same, una no praise her like this some even 'tongue-lashed' her about her boob job....SMH Hypocrites! **Ada Nnewi*

Anonymous said...

Lik seriously, wat kind of illiterates du we hav in dis blog?, yu claim yu re a fool, idiot nd jobless, must yu den insult ppl tu mak ur points or correct dem?? Anon 10:00 s not mad neither a dumb ass buh sharing his opinion wch he s entitled tu, n yu can either talk ur own or focus ur jobless mind on hw tu bury d dead sea....miscreantx!

Anonymous said...

@anon 12:37pm. Thx for sharing, but with you risk factors you really should be checking ur BP at least twice a week. Once a year is way too infrequent for someone with a family history of HBP. My husband checks his every 2 days and it just his mum that has HBP, I have low blood pressure but I still check mine every other month. Consider getting a BP kit for yourself and cut the drinking out.

lolllllllllllllll said...

lovely

Anonymous said...

She adopted 3 poor orphans and had 3 biological children with Pitt...

Anonymous said...

Bia its inspiring and technology that determines and a blood test thank me later @princess u hav been relieved of ur job.nexxtt!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, I think the reason why there is breast, ovary, uterus cancer is because of multiple sex partners? Can someone please shed light on this? Thank you.

jenny said...

Well done jollie

Adele said...

Angelina Jolie is such a beautiful and intelligent woman, very much unlike the bimbos who seem to have taken over celebritydom. I totally love her and Brad's love. I think she made him more "interesting". Yeah, she's had her flaws and made some mistakes but her triumphs and her beautiful heart far outweigh all of that. It must have been such a hard decision to make, yet she went through it all in silence and privacy and even kept up with her humanitarian work travelling around the world to highlight the plight of war refugees and women and children in war torn countries, whilst she was undergoing the mastectomy process. Such a blessing! I admire her a lot and wish her, Brad and their family peace and many more blissful years together.

Anonymous said...

Anon May 14, 2013 at 9:52 PM; that has to be one of the most ignorant things I have read. get online and read, read and read.

Anonymous said...

when i hear the word cancer, my heart jumps into my mouth cos we don't even have the money for the test not to talk of the treatment if anybody should have it. I just pray it doesn't befall us

olads ephiwe said...

happpppyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy for her cos we need her likes around in d movie world.

olads ephiwe said...

happpppyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy for her cos we need her likes around in d movie world.