Angelina Jolie shocked the world earlier this week when she announced that she decided to undergo double mastectomy surgery. The actress told New York Times’ readers that her choice was based on the fact that her mom battled with the disease and eventually died at a young age as a result of having cancer.
“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,” wrote Jolie.
The actress continued, “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. 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.”
Jolie has received much support from her fiance and kids since deciding to undergo the life-altering operation as Brad tells USA Today, “[My kids and I] set up our own little post-op recovery that became pretty fun. You make an adventure out of it.”
Angelina’s decision to undergo a double mastectomy and speak out about it has sparked a lot of conversation among women. Thousands of mothers have scheduled appointments with their physician in hopes of discovering their odds for developing cancer, and thousands more are taking more time to research the primary causes of the disease.
On average, 1 in 8 women are speculated to develop invasive cancer during their lifetime. Among the 12%, about 40,000 are expected to die from the disease. African-American women are said to have a higher risk of dying from cancer than any other race or ethnic group.
So what would you do if you knew your chances of developing a life-threatening disease were incredibly high? Mothers, would you go to the lengths that Jolie went to in hopes of seeing your kids grow up? Just how far would you go to be with your kids?