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Angelina Jolie reveals she had double mastectomy

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UPDATE 7 pm: The reaction to Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy news
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Angelina Jolie revealed today that she recently underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carries a gene that puts her at high risk for breast cancer.

In an op-ed in Tuesday’s New York Times, the Oscar-winning movie star, 37, wrote that she wrapped up three months of surgical procedures , including reconstructive surgery, in late April.

“I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy,” Jolie writes. “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.”

Jolie, who has six children with fiancé Brad Pitt, writes that her mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, died at 56 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. That prompted Jolie to pursue genetic testing and discover she carries the BRCA1 gene, with a high likelihood of both breast and ovarian cancer. “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.”

While acknowledging that the cost of genetic screening is high — as much as $3,000 — Jolie writes that she hopes more women “will be able to get gene tested” and “know that they have strong options.”

Read more at the New York Times: My Medical Choice

Earlier: With breast cancer discovered at age 26, a young woman confronts her mortality, 5/13/13

Miss D.C. Allyn Rose on her decision to opt for a double mastectomy after Miss America pageant, 11/19/12

More Reliable Source: What Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy means to breast cancer advocates