Yesterday Angelina Jolie shared with the world her brave and bold decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy after she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene that put her at an 87% chance at developing breast cancer. Jolie‘s revelation yesterday sent shockwaves around the world and sparked an important conversation about the BRCA1 gene and the need for testing. Angelina‘s fiancée and father of her children, Brad Pitt, released a statement in support of Angelina‘s brave decision, which you can read below. Additionally, People magazine is now reporting that Angelina has decided to take the next step and will have her ovaries removed, since she has a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer as well. Wow. Lots of new information to take in today.
Angelina Jolie was “heroic” for undergoing a preventive double mastectomy, her fiance, Brad Pitt, said Tuesday after she wrote an op-ed piece revealing her decision and describing the mastectomy process, which began in February. “Having witnessed this decision firsthand, I find Angie’s choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic,” he told the Weekly Standard in a statement, also thanking their medical team. “All I want for is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children,” he said. “This is a happy day for our family” … Jolie praised Pitt in her Tuesday New York Times op-ed, which went public late Monday night. “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.”
It is very important to have the love and support of people around you when dealing with any medical situation … from something as simple as enduring the common cold to major invasive surgery. Angelina is lucky to have Brad and Brad is lucky to have Angelina. It’s plainly clear to me that this couple has been madly in love for many, many years now … and they have the beautiful family to prove it. I honestly have no doubt that Angelina would’ve been able to endure this surgery if she were a single woman but I also have no doubt that having Brad in her life has helped considerably.
In her New York Times article yesterday, Angelina also revealed that she also has a high risk of developing ovarian cancer as well … and today, People magazine is reporting that she has decided to go ahead with the surgery to have her ovaries removed as a preventative measure:
Angelina Jolie is one resilient mom. The actress, 37, has experienced no complications since undergoing a double mastectomy in February and reconstructive surgery in April. “She is doing well,” a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. But her medical odyssey is not done. The mother of six is also planning to undergo surgery to remove her ovaries. Because of her “faulty” BRCA1 gene, she still faces a high risk of developing ovarian cancer, which her doctors estimate at 50 percent. Some doctors recommend patients undergo the surgery by age 40 or when a woman is done having children, though it may trigger early menopause.
Let me be plainly clear here … undergoing any kind of preemptive invasive surgery is very serious and the decision to do so is extremely brave. With that said, I am assuming that the decision to undergo ovary removal, especially at an age where having children is no longer an option (or is less desirous), is an easier decision to make. If true, it sounds like Angelina Jolie is not kidding around where her health is concerned. She clearly wants to live as long as possible for her children and I cannot applaud her more. Angelina‘s medical choices have sparked a conversation among women (and men) about the BRCA1 gene that I hope will save lives. Let the conversation continue … and grow!