Angelina Jolie Has Double Mastectomy

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Angelina Jolie Has Double Mastectomy
Tue, 05-14-2013 - 7:46am

Angelina Jolie says she has undergone a preventive double mastectomy after being told that she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer, along with a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.

In an article published in the opinion section of Tuesday's New York Times, Jolie said her decision was informed by her mother's long fight against cancer. Marcheline Bertrand died in 2007 at age 56.

Jolie said she hoped that other women would find encouragement from her story. 

"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," Jolie said in the Times article. "It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."

Wow! If you had the testing done, and your results were similar, would you have made the same choice?

 photo snowsiggy.png


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 05-15-2013 - 8:18pm

No, because there is always some breast tissue they can't get. However, it lowers a person's risk to as low as 5%. which is lower than that of the average woman without one of the BRCA mutations, so in her case, it was probably worth it. For those who don't have such a high risk to start with, a drastic measure like this isn't necessary.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 05-15-2013 - 7:26pm

I thought I had remembered that having a double mastectomy does not guarantee that one will not get breast cancer.

Sadly, it seems I remembered correctly. Fortunately, 9 out of 10 times prophylatic surgery is effective.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 05-15-2013 - 7:08pm

In her case, screening would not be as effective, because not only are women with the BRCA1 mutation (which she has) more likely to get cancer, they are also more likely to have an aggressive form that is harder to treat. Women with the BRCA2 mutation can reduce their risk by taking tamoxifen, but this isn't effective for women with the BRCA1 mutation. She chose an aggressive method of prevention, but it makes a lot of sense in her case.

Both of the BRCA mutations are rare, so most of us don't need to take such drastic measures, thank God!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-01-2002
Tue, 05-14-2013 - 6:13pm

If I had Angelina Jolie's "numbers," yes.  I would have the testing done.  Angelina's mother died young of cancer and Angelina has the genetic makeup of the Jewish sect which is often tied to high rates of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.  She's a smart woman.  And rich!  So all costs are easily covered.  Good for her and good luck to others watching for the pending Supreme Court decision over the Myriad Genetics monopoly. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2012
Tue, 05-14-2013 - 5:21pm

A brave and practical decision.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Tue, 05-14-2013 - 2:57pm

I don't know where I stand here, I wonder if this extreme prevention is comparable to screening cancers early instead of putting that off too.  (There's a family history of breast cancer in mine).  Jolie is a beautiful woman but I don't draw inspiration from celebrities like her. 



iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009
Tue, 05-14-2013 - 8:41am

 Because of my DD1 having breast cancer and testing positive for the gene my entire family has or will be tested.

  I am negative, my DH is positive,  DD2 is positive.  She will be having her breasts removed in the not so distant future.

  DD3 is waiting to be tested next month when her paid time off resets. If it comes back positive she will have them removed.

   Before my testing I had made the decision if it came back positive I would have them removed.