Angelina Jolie has revealed she underwent a double mastectomy after being told she had an 87% chance of developing breast cancer and 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer.

Jolie, 37, began the process in February and completed it by the end of April.

Explaining her reasons for having the surgery in the New York Times, the actress said,
“I decided to be proactive and to minimise the risk as much I could.”

Jolie mother’s died at 56 after suffering from breast cancer for almost 10 years. “The truth is I carry a ‘faulty’ gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer,” Jolie writes in the Times.

She writes that once she “knew that this was my reality”, she took the decision to have a double mastectomy with the support of her partner Brad Pitt.

Her chances of developing breast cancer are now less than 5%.

“I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity,” she writes.

“For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options.

“I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.”

What’s incredible is the Oscar winner and mother-of-six continued her role as UN special envoy during her nine week procedure, visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo, and attending the G8 summit of foreign ministers in London to raise awareness over sexual violence in conflict.

She also helped launch a charity to fund girls’ education set up by the Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai who was shot by the Taliban last October.

Jolie ends her story on a very empowering note: “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”

Congratulations to Angelina Jolie for her brave decision and choosing to be so open about it to help other women.