Photo Credit: AFP/Stringer/Getty Images
Today Angelina Jolie wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy after discovering she carried the BRCA1 gene, an inherited mutation that greatly increases one's risk of cancer. Her revelation is shocking both for its stealth, given she is one half of the world's most watched couple, but also because Jolie is just 37 years old.
Jolie writes that she made this decision for her children. Having lost her own mother to breast cancer at age 56, Jolie expresses her regret that her mother didn't get a chance to meet all of her children. She writes: "We often speak of 'Mommy's mommy,' and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me." She would always tell them not to worry, but knew the reality was that doctors put her risk of developing breast cancer at 87 percent, and her risk of developing ovarian cancer at 50 percent. So she made a decision to do everything she could to make sure she'd be around as long as possible for her kids.
Post-surgery, "I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer," she writes.
She also praises partner Brad Pitt for being there for every moment of surgery. "We managed to find moments to laugh together," she says. "We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has."
Would you undergo radical preventative surgeries for your kids? Does this inspire you to get tested for the breast cancer gene?
WATCH: Angelina Jolie Reveals She Has Had a Double Mastectomy