Actress Angelina Jolie has undergone a voluntary double mastectomy to decrease her risk of breast cancer.
Jolie’s mother died of breast cancer at 56, after a 10-year fight with the disease. Both Jolie and her mother carry a fault in the gene BRCA1, which can dramatically increase a woman’s risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
Jolie’s doctors estimated that she had an 87 per cent risk of getting breast cancer, so she chose to be proactive and have a double mastectomy earlier this year. She also had a full breast reconstruction at the same time.
Angelina Jolie has gone public about her experience in order to increase awareness about this issue and to support other women in the same situation. You can read about her double mastectomy in her own words on the New York Times website.
It is also worth noting that women in Australia who are considered to be at high risk of breast cancer, for example those who carry a fault in the gene BRCA1, can go on a waiting list to have the same surgery, including the full breast reconstruction, through the public hospital system.