• Angelina Jolie’s Brave Decision

    By Free Online News

    PUBLISHED: May 14, 2013 2:52 pm

    Angelina Jolie pays tribute to ‘loving and supportive’ fiancé Brad Pitt after revealing brave decision to have double mastectomy

    Angelina said her decision to have the operation has brought her and fiancé Pitt closer Pitt later released his own statement praising his ‘heroic Angie’, adding: ‘This is a happy day for our family’ After discovering she is a carrier of the BRCA1 gene she began three months of secret procedures on February 2, finishing on April 27 Angelina decided to have the surgery for her children, after her own mother died of ovarian cancer aged 56 Surgery was successful and her chances of getting breast cancer have decreased from 87% to less than 5%

     By Sarah Bull and Iona Kirby (dailymail.co.uk) PUBLISHED: 09:13 GMT, 14 May 2013 | UPDATED: 14:05 GMT, 14 May 2013

    Angelina Jolie has paid tribute to her fiancé Brad Pitt for being so supportive following her double mastectomy operation.

    The 37-year-old actress made the brave decision to have the procedure after doctors told her she was a carrier of the BRCA1 cancer gene – meaning she had an 87% chance of contracting breast cancer.

    The news was made all the more personal by the fact that Angelina lost her mother Marcheline Bertrand to ovarian cancer when she was just 56.

    1‘Loving and supportive’: Angelina Jolie has paid tribute to her fiancé Brad Pitt after revealing she had a double mastectomy operation following the discovery that she carried the BRCA1 cancer gene

    But revealing her decision to have the surgery in the New York Times, Angelina said it was the support of her six children and fiancé Brad which got her through the three months of secret procedures. In the editorial piece in the New York Times entitled ‘My Medical Choice’, Angelina wrote: ”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.’ Meanwhile, Brad released his own statement praising his ‘heroic Angie’ following her difficult decision.

    2Speaking out: Angelina Jolie, pictured here on April 4 this year after having a preventative double mastectomy, underwent the surgery after discovering she had an 87% change of contracting breast cancer

    34Brave choice: Angelina looked in good spirits as she attended the Women in the World event following the initial stage of the procedures

    In a statement to London’s Evening Standard, Brad said: ‘Having witnessed this decision firsthand, I find Angie’s choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic. I thank our medical team for their care and focus. ‘All I want for is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children. This is a happy day for our family.’ Angelina also revealed she is proud of her children, Maddox, 11, Pax, nine, Zahara, eight, Shiloh, six, and four-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne, for being so brave during her operations, which began on February 16th with the initial removal, before she had the reconstruction operation on April 20th. She writes: ‘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.’

    5Brave: Angelina, pictured with 11-year-old son Maddox on April 12, hopes that speaking out will encourage other women to inform themselves and understand their options if they too have the faulty BRCA gene

    Following the operations, Angelina’s risk of contracting breast cancer has now dropped to under 5%. She wrote: ‘My doctors estimated that I had an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman. ‘Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65% risk of getting it, on average. 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.

    6Making it through: Angelina is pictured on April 20, one week before completing three months of medical procedures

    7In secret: Angelina hid the fact she was undergoing the mastectomy and continued working during treatment


    February 2nd – Angelina begins three months of treatments prior to undergoing a preventative double mastectomy, starting with a ‘nipple delay, which rules out disease in the breast ducts behind the nipple and draws extra blood flow to the area’

    February 16th – The actress undergoes the major surgery – an eight hour operation which sees the breast tissue removed before temporary fillers are put in place

    March 26th – Angelina is pictured in the Republic of Congo with William Hague following the initial operation

    April 4th – Angelina attends the Women in the World Summit in New York looking in good spirits

    April 11th – Angelina is pictured with William Hague at the G8 Summit in London

    April 20th – Angelina has the final operation as her breasts are reconstructed with implants

    April 27th – The mother-of-six completes the medical process. She is told that the surgery was a success and her chances of contracting breast cancer have now been reduced from 87% to less than 5%

    May 14th – Angelina reveals her decision in an editorial piece published in the New York Times newspaper

    8Tragic loss: Angelina’s mother Marcheline Bertrand sadly died from ovarian cancer at the age of 56

    ‘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.

    ‘On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved. During that time I have been able to keep this private and to carry on with my work.

    ‘My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87% to under 5%. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.’

    In her detailed New York Times piece, Angelina assured that having the double mastectomy hasn’t changed the way she feels about herself and her womanliness, and added that results of reconstructive surgery ‘can be beautiful’. Tragic loss: Angelina’s mother Marcheline Bertrand sadly died from ovarian cancer at the age of 56

    Tragic loss: Angelina’s mother Marcheline Bertrand sadly died from ovarian cancer at the age of 56

    ‘On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman,’ she said. ‘I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.’

    Angelina’s decision to reveal the operations have seen the star praised by her fellow celebrities, with many saying she will have inspired others to undergo the gene tests.

    Foreign Secretary William Hague, who in March visited refugee camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo with Jolie as part of a campaign to highlight the problem of mass rape in conflict areas, said she was ‘a brave lady’ who would be ‘an inspiration to many’.

    Mr Hague told Sky News: ‘She is a courageous lady and a very professional lady. She’s done a lot of work with me in recent months.

    ‘She also came over to the G8 foreign ministers’ summit in London to work with me on our initiative on preventing sexual violence in conflict and travelled with me through some difficult places in the Congo.

    ‘She gave no sign that she was undergoing such treatment and I think she’s a very brave lady, not only to carry on with her work so well during such treatment, but also to write about it now and talk about it. I think that she’s a brave lady and will be an inspiration to many.’

    Angelina isn’t the only celebrity to make the difficult decision to have a preventative mastectomy after discovering she was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene.

    Sharon Osbourne revealed last year that she had undergone the procedure after previously battling colon cancer back in 2002

    9Slender: It was hard not to notice Angelina’s very slender frame when she attended the American Society Of Cinematographers Awards on Feb 10 this year

    10Procedure: Angelina had the surgery at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills, where Sheryl Crow was also treated when she suffered from breast cancer

    Explaining the decision, Sharon said at the time: ‘As soon as I found out I had the breast cancer gene, I thought, “The odds are not in my favour.”

    ‘I’ve had cancer before and I didn’t want to live under that cloud. I decided to just take everything off, and had a double mastectomy.’

    Former Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton also underwent a preventative double mastectomy after discovering she carried the BRCA2 gene, meaning she had up to an 80% chance of getting breast cancer.

    Speaking about Angelina’s decision on Daybreak on Tuesday morning, Michelle said: ‘I can’t even stress how much of an impact that I had talking to women to say that I was going through this, it was such a huge impact. Imagine what impact somebody as huge as Angelina Jolie can have on this.’

    Mother-of-one Michelle added that it was ‘amazing’ that Angelina had managed to keep the operation private for so long.

    She said: ‘I think it is has been about three months since she has had the operation… and she feels that it is time now to come out and tell everybody what she has gone through. It has been amazing that she has been able to keep it so private.

    ‘I know how much she has gone through – it is identical. I decided to have the double mastectomy pretty much as soon as I found out that I carried the gene, reconstruction on the same day.

    ‘The reason that I did it was because I have a little baby girl and I didn’t want her asking me later on in life “Has Mummy got a chance of dying sooner rather than later?” and I never wanted that to be an option.

    11Family matters: In the New York Times article Angelina said her six children are one of the main reasons she decided to have preventative surgery. She said: ‘I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.’

    Meanwhile, E! News presenter Giuliana Rancic, who had a double mastectomy in December 2012 after being diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2011, was quick to tweet her support for Angelina, writing: ‘Proud of her for using her incredible platform to educate women.’

    And Angelina said she hopes her decision will encourage other women to be informed and consider their options.

    ‘I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness.

    12Still working hard: Angelina attended the G8 summit in London on April 11 with William Hague, after the initial operation but prior to the process being finished

    13A lot going on: Angelina was still in the midst of her procedures when she attended the Foreign Ministers G8 meeting in Lancaster House on April 11 in London, England

    ‘But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action.’

    Angelina added: ‘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.

    ‘I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be will able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options.

    ‘I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy,’ she wrote. ‘But it is one I am very happy that I made.

    14Travelling: Angelina, pictured March 26 this year, travelled to the Republic of Congo with Hague for her humanitarian duties during the month of March

    15Finding time for others: Angelina continued to help others by travelling to the Congo in the midst of her treatment in a bid to encourage world powers to do more to tackle rape and sexual assault in war zones

    Angelina Jolie has paid tribute to her fiancé Brad Pitt for being so supportive following her double mastectomy operation.

    The 37-year-old actress made the brave decision to have the procedure after doctors told her she was a carrier of the BRCA1 cancer gene – meaning she had an 87% chance of contracting breast cancer.

    The news was made all the more personal by the fact that Angelina lost her mother Marcheline Bertrand to ovarian cancer when she was just 56.

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