Angelina Jolie: Actress-Director-UN Envoy Announces She Underwent Double Mastectomy (Video)
May 14, 2013 08:43 PM EDT
Actress, director and humanitarian Angelina Jolie announced in a New York Times op-ed on Tuesday that she underwent a preventive double mastectomy after learning that she carries a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which sharply increases her risk of developing breast cancer, CNN reported.
"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," Jolie wrote in the article.
"Once I knew that was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy."
Jolie's mother, actress and producer and Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer in 2007 at the age of 56. In her article, Jolie said she finished three months of medical procedures at the Pink Lotus Breast Center Breast Cancer in California on April 27 that included the mastectomies and reconstruction, news reports said.
BRCA stands for breast cancer susceptibility genes, a class of genes known as tumor suppressors, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Mutation of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes hav been linked to hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. A blood test can determine if a woman is highly susceptible to the cancers. Eastern European women and women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are at a higher risk of carrying BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.
About 10 to 15 percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer have a hereditary tendency to develop the disease, according to ovariancancer.org.
Jolie serves as a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and has visited refugee camps around the world.
Fellow actress Christina Applegate had a similar procedure in 2008.