Actress and mother of twins, Angelina Jolie underwent a preventative double mastectomy (removal of both her breasts) in April because of a mutated BRCA1 gene known to raise the risk of breast cancer by 87 percent and ovarian cancer by up to a 54 percent.
In her tell-all “My Medical Choice”, Jolie shares that although it was a difficult choice it was necessary. Jolie reports her mother had breast cancer and died of ovarian cancer, and her grandmother also had ovarian cancer.
This for Jolie (and health professionals) was adequate evidence to remove both her healthy breasts to avoid the same outcome. It is often advised that women who have this gene would benefit from ovarian removal as well, yet it is unclear whether Jolie will make that decision in the future.
Also during the surgery, doctors placed a tissue expander under her skin; a device which slowly stretches the skin making room for a breast implant to optimize the final cosmetic appearance.
After surgery, Jolie was said to be ‘energetic and positive.’ For Jolie, the best outcome to the double mastectomy is that she has increased her chance to have a healthy and full life with her loving family and twins.