Angelina Jolie went into extremely personal territory yesterday, when she revealed that she had gone through a double mastectomy. The surgery was preventative, as the star hadn’t been diagnosed with anything, however, due to possessing the risk gene BRCA1, she had an 85% chance of developing breast cancer. Understandably, Jolie opted for the “better safe than sorry” approach and, over the course of three months, she had a number of surgeries – mastectomies and reconstructive operations. In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Jolie explained that she had gone through the surgery largely in the name of her six children: “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.”

But, the grand message of Jolie’s story goes out to women, who could be at risk for breast cancer and it is to get screened as frequently as possible and, if at risk, to look into all available options: “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.”

Medical professionals also caution that a mastectomy might not be the right choice for every patient with the malignant gene. "Though Angelina decided that a preventative mastectomy was the right choice for her, this may not be the case for another woman in a similar situation,” Dr Richard Francis, head of research at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said for The Guardian. "We urge anyone who is worried about their risk of breast cancer to talk it through with their doctor."

Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, International Berlin Film Festival
Jolie also thanked her partner, Brad Pitt for his support along the way.