UPDATED: Yesterday, in an exclusive article for the New York Times, Angelina Jolie revealed that she had a double mastectomy.
Since then, celebrities have come out to express their support for the 37-year-old mum of six.
What does this surgery mean for Angelina? Well, for one, it will not define her, but it will change her. It will make her life fuller knowing that she doesn’t have to look over her shoulder like she did when she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
… Most importantly, what does her news mean to you? What it means is simple. The most important thing for you to do today is to gather your family’s cancer history on your mother’s side and yes, even your father’s side, and take it to a doctor you trust to start the conversation.
Angelina’s husband, Brad Pitt, also spoke to London’s Evening Standard about Angelina’s decision. According to E! Online, he called her action “absolutely heroic”, adding: “All I want…is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children. This is a happy day for our family.”
Angelina originally mentioned Brad in her New York Times article, saying that he “is so loving and supportive”.
Brad Pitt’s mother, Jane Pitt, also released a statement saying that she was “so very proud” of what Angelina had done. “This means so much to our family especially our grandchildren,” she added.
James Haven, Angelina’s brother, has also commented about the decision, saying that he is “so grateful to be her brother”. He wrote: “My sister like our mother always put her children first.”
Meanwhile, Angelina’s father John Voight said he saw Angelina just two days ago and didn’t know.
Voight told The New York Daily News: ‘I saw her two days ago with my son Jamie. We all got together for his birthday, with her and Brad [Pitt]. But I didn’t know. It wasn’t obvious at all.”
“My love and admiration for my daughter can’t be explained in words.”
Yesterday, Angelina Jolie wrote that she has a “faulty” gene, BRCA1. Her doctor’s estimated that this gave her an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. As a result, Angelina opted for a preventative mastectomy and finished the three months of medical procedures on April 27.
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.
There’s a history here. Tragically, Angelina’s mother died at the age of 56 in 2007 after a decade of fighting ovarian cancer.
In a 2011 interview with 60 minutes, Angelina praised her mother and claimed that she “will never be as good a mother as she was… she was the most generous, loving – she’s better than me.”
And it was her death that largely triggered Angelina’s decision about the double mastectomy. Because, as she explains in the New York Times – Angelina’s children ask about their grandmother, who some of them never got to meet before she died.
In the New York Times article, Angelina explains the entire process behind a double mastectomy. She describes what happens during the first procedure, called a “nipple delay” where tests are done to establish whether there is disease behind or within the nipple and, while she admits it is painful and causes bruising, gave her the best chance of keeping her nipples despite losing her breasts. She then went through the major operation and writes about how it feels when you wake up, taking us through the final reconstruction of the breasts and explaining that the results “can be beautiful”.