Angelina Jolie’s Double Mastectomy: Changing Cancer Prevention

She’s a global humanitarian, mom-of-six, and one of the most beautiful women in the world. And now some are saying she is changing “everything on how we perceive cancer prevention.”

Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie shocked fans Tuesday with with news of her double mastectomy.

The mom of six kids – Maddox, 11, Pax, 9, Zahara, 8, Shiloh, nearly 7, and 4-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne – wrote an op-ed piece called “My Medical Choice.”

As it turns out, the 37-year-old actress did not undergo the surgery after a cancer diagnosis. She opted to have her healthy breasts removed after genetic tests showed she had a high risk of developing breast cancer.

“I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer,” Angie wrote. “My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.”

The internet went abuzz with support of the actress, with some calling her a “heroine.”

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis wrote a piece for Huffington Post, titled “Freedom of Choice, Freedom of Privacy,” where she not only praises Angelina’s bravery to undergo the procedure.

“Ms. Jolie is a heroine to many. Me included,” Jamie Lee wrote, adding that, “She is brave and bold and challenging. She challenges the world with her thoughts and actions and deeds. She tells stories that have meaning. She walks the walk, talks the talk and does so with jaw dropping beauty and admirable and seemingly effortless style.”

Jamie Lee makes note that Angelina’s big revelation was done with “eloquence and dignity and grace,” giving women a positive message of pro-action.

Dr. Oz says that Angelina’s actions are a “kick in the pants” for many women, saying that she has changed the future of cancer.

“It changes everything about how the public will perceive cancer,” he told PEOPLE. “She had remarkable insight into the challenges she faced, she embraced information, knowledge. She realized testing gave her power and she spoke very directly to women with some very sage advice, which I applaud. It changes everything on how we perceive cancer prevention.”

“This shows us what the future of cancer will look like,” he added. “What Angelina did was to change the dynamic – when a young, sexy woman electively, because of remarkable advancements in technology, allows some of her most sensuous parts to be removed in order to save her life so she can be here for her kids, that’s a seismic shift.”

“We needed this,” the doctor added. “It’s a kick in the pants. Most of us shy away from bad news. She embraced the enemy and took it upon herself to beat it. She felt that was her motherly and female obligation.”

Allison Gilbert, author of Parentless Parents, opens up about her own double mastectomy — which she also took as a preventative measure, just like Angelina.

“I did this for my children,” she told the Huffington Post. I don’t know that I would have done this if I hadn’t been a mother.”

Like Angelina, Allison’s mother died in her mid-50s, and she also tested positive for the genetic mutation BRCA1 which dramatically ups one’s risk of both breast and ovarian cancer.

Like Angelina, Allison opted to remove her healthy breasts before any disease could take hold.

And like Angelina, Allison says she did it for her children.

What do you think about Angelina’s decision to have a preventative double mastectomy? Has this changed how you feel about mastectomies?

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