'I do not feel any less of a woman'

Angelina Jolie has always been outspoken about issues that matter to her, and now, for the first time, she’s revealing a very personal one: her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy after discovering she carried a gene that made it extremely likely she would get breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

The actress made the announcement in the form of an article, she authored for New York Times under the headline, ‘My Medical Choice’. She writes that between February and late April she completed three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts.

Speaking out: Angelina Jolie, pictured here in April on the sidelines of the G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, underwent surgery after discovering she had the faulty gene. Pic/AFP

“My doctors estimated that I had an 87 per cent risk of breast cancer and a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in each woman,” she wrote. “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimise the risk as much as I could.”

The surgery, which began in February, had reduced Jolie’s risk of breast cancer to less than 5%, she said. Jolie, 37, lost her mother in 2007 to ovarian cancer, and she explains in the article that her six children and partner Brad Pitt contributed to her decision to have the surgery — and now, she’s speaking out to educate other women in her situation about their options. “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.”

12-week ordeal
Feb 2: Angelina begins three months of treatments, starting with a ‘nipple delay.’
Feb 16: The actress undergoes the major surgery which sees the breast tissue removed before temporary fillers are put in place
Mar 26: Angelina is pictured in the Republic of Congo with Foreign Secy William Hague following the initial operation
April 11: She is pictured at the G8 Summit in London (in pic)
Apr 20: Angelina has the final operation as her breasts are reconstructed with implants
Apr 27: She completes the medical process.  

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