Angelina Jolie says she got both her breasts removed over genetic cancer risk

Actress Angelina Jolie has had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that makes it very likely she’ll get breast cancer.

She wrote an op-ed in today’s New York Times where she says that in April she finished three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts.

The 37-year-old made the choice after her mother died of the disease at the age of 56. Doctors told Jolie she had a 87 per cent chance of being diagnosed herself, but since the operation, that number has dwindled to just 5 per cent.

“She chose to have preventive surgery which has been conclusively shown to not only reduce the risk but likely convey some survival benefit as well, but not every woman chooses surgery. So surveillance, which is just a high-tech form of screening, while it does not drop the risk, it does increase the rate at which that cancer is detected. And then for some women, medication to lower the risk also,” says ABC’s Dr. Jennifer Ashton.

She kept the process very private but is writing about it now in hopes of helping other women.

Many choose to have a preventive mastectomy since the advent of genetic breast cancer testing.