Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy is big news right now...and is a timely reminder for women around the world…about the risk of developing breast cancer when a person is BRCA1 positive and/or has a strong family history of breast/ovarian cancers. Angelina chose to have a double mastectomy (removal of both breasts) for several reasons….these 3 being the highest priority:
1) Angelina’s double mastectomy (surgical removal of both breasts) greatly reduced her changes of getting breast cancer by 87%. For people who test positive for BRCA 1…the breast removal surgery reduces the risk of ever getting cancer…significantly.
2) The mastectomy surgery reduced her risk of getting ovarian cancer by 50%. This is the disease that killed her mother (after fighting it for 10 years) at age 56.
3) Having the double mastectomy reduced her risk of breast cancer down to less than 5%…so she could tell her children: “They don’t need to fear they lose me to breast cancer.” Her big why was her kids. Living a long life to be there with and for them. I didn’t want to leave them or for them to lose me at a young age the way I lost my Mom. Angelina, age 37, and Brad Pitt have 6 children. Three are her own natural born and three are adopted.
Angelina chose to tell us all about her double mastectomy to encourage other women to: get gene tested and to raise awareness of the options available to those at risk.
Angelina’s surgery was done in February…but she kept it private until now. Even her own father, Actor/Celebrity John Voight didn’t know about it until recently at a family birthday party for one of the kids…and was very surprised because she has been very active and looked (looks) perfectly normal and healthy.
Brad Pitt and their 6 children were totally involved in the entire process…and even set up a little post-op recovery area at home so they could help mommy and be part of her recovery. Brad is thankful and relieved for the clean bill of health….and for the fact that the cloud has been removed!
About BRCA1...BRCA1 is a gene mutation that men and women can carry and pass down to children. This mutation makes people at risk for breast, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancers. Genetic counseling followed by gene testing (blood tests) allow mutations to be found either BRCA1 or BRCA2…and empowers other family members to get tested also. See: http://www.davinciplastic.com
“This was not an easy decision….but one I’m glad I made! Now I want to encourage other women to get tested…especially those with a strong family history of cancers! ” She encourages us to seek out the information and the experts…learn about all the options…and those who can help you through this aspect of your life…make informed choices and become empowered!
Other Celebs who’ve had double mastectomies include: Sharon Osbourne and Sheryl Crow. November, 2012….Sharon disclosed the facts about her breast removal surgery after a genetic test revealed she was a carrier of BRCA1 genes. She knew immediately that the odds were not in her favor….she’s had cancer before and did not want to live under that cloud again.
The critical message here is: if you have a strong family history of cancer….get tested. Let’s talk about….I’m specialized in all breast procedures including reconstruction options.
Best to you and yours.
Steven Davison M.D.