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Angelina Jolie Bravely Undergoes Double Mastectomy To Reduce Cancer Risk And Live A Long Life For Her Children

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Angelina Jolie Double MastetcomyI have always admired Angelina Jolie. Not just because she is amazingly gorgeous and talented, but also for her work as a humanitarian and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN and her dedication to raising awareness about the plight of women and children in places like Darfur and Bosnia. You don’t hear a lot about Mrs. Brad Pitt unless she is promoting a movie, she isn’t one of these Hollywood types who we see ducking in and out of expensive restaurants with pre-informed paparazzo standing by to snap her photograph nor do we see her on TMZ getting in a screaming match with her spouse or being arrested for drunken driving or any other example of bad behavior exhibited by so many famous people. We see her on occasion taking her kids somewhere, or at an awards ceremony, or a few weeks after she has visited a third world country where she hasn’t bothered to publicize the trip unless she is trying to raise awareness for a cause. Her husband is also known for his charitable work. They just seem like decent people. At least a lot more decent than other celebrities who seem to only care about remaining famous. And we know she is an extremely dedicated mom to her six children, which is why she opened up about undergoing a double mastectomy in a New York Times opinion piece published today:

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.

Jolie decided to undergo the procedure because of her family history of breast cancer (Her mother died from the disease at age 56) and because she carries the BRCA1 gene which greatly increases a woman’s chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer. She has had breast reconstruction with implants, and says that she underwent the breast removal first because the surgeries are more complicated than the ovarian one.

In the article she mentions that the cost of testing for this type of cancerous gene can cost upwards of $3,000 and that this “remains an obstacle for many women.” She adds that “ 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.”

It must have been a difficult decision for her and her family, and it’s very admirable she has chosen to come forward with her story in hopes that it will help other women. Sadly, I’m sure the focus now with most of the press will be trying to grab new photos of her implants, while the rest of us women worry about whether or not we could also be at risk. Considering breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, here’s hoping the Angelina Jolie double mastectomy story can raise additional awareness about this horrible disease.

(photo: WENN)