Actress Angelina Jolie, who carries a mutation in her BRCA1 gene, announced that she has had a double mastectomy. Women who carry a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation have a significantly higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.

breast cancerovarian cancer

the BRCA1 mutation may also be linked to other cancers


* Jolie’s mother died of ovarian and not breast cancer. Many newspapers and TV channels have mistakenly reported she died of breast cancer.

“My Medical Choice”cancer

As soon as she realized what her odds were (of developing cancer), Jolie decided to be proactive and reduce her risk to a minimum.

“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. “


“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.”
Nipple-delay procedure

Major surgery two weeks later

Breast reconstruction

she can now reassure her children truthfully that they need not fear losing her 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.”

Pink Lotus Breast Center

In the USA, testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 costs $3000

“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.”