Brad Pitt: Angelina Jolie's decision to undergo double mastectomy is 'absolutely heroic'

In article titled 'My Medical Choice' the Tomb Raider star writes describes taking drastic medical action to reassure her children she won't die of the disease that killed their grandmother aged 56

Brad Pitt today hailed the courage of his fiance Angelina Jolie after she revealed that she has undergone a double mastectomy to lower the risk of her getting breast cancer - the disease that killed her mother almost a decade ago.

In an article for The New York Times entitled 'My Medical Choice,' Jolie says that she completed three months of medical procedures at the end of April that she had so far managed to keep out of the public eye.

Jolie explains that her own mother died of breast cancer at the age of 56 and that she herself had the 'faulty' BRCA1 gene, which increased her chances of getting the disease to 87 per cent, and of getting ovarian cancer to 50 per cent.

Pitt called her decision to undergo a double mastectomy "absolutely heroic"

Speaking to the Evening Standard, he said: “Having witnessed this decision first hand, I find Angie’s choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic. I thank our medical team for their care and focus".

He added: "All I want for is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children. This is a happy day for our family.”

The 37-year-old Tomb Raider actress and humanitarian activist says the reason behind her decision was to reassure her children - of which she has three biological and three adopted - that the illness that took their grandmother would not do the same to her.

In the article, she writes: "I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.

"It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it. Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was."

She also thanks Pitt, describing him as "so loving and supportive".

Following her surgery, which involved breast reconstruction with implants, the actress' chances of developing the cancer have dropped to under 5 per cent.

She says her decision to write about her experience came from wanting to reassure other women that they "have options".

"I choose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer," she writes.

"It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."

Dr Richard Francis, head of research at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: "We're sorry to hear that Angelina has the BRCA1 gene fault.

"For women like Angelina it's important that they are made fully aware of all the options that are available, including risk-reducing surgery and extra breast screening.

"Though Angelina decided that a preventative mastectomy was the right choice for her, this may not be the case for another woman in a similar situation.

"We urge anyone who is worried about their risk of breast cancer to talk it through with their doctor."

He said BRCA gene faults are rare and in most cases are linked to family history.

"Thanks to great advances in research we're able to pinpoint when people like Angelina are BRCA carriers and therefore at risk," he said.

"However we do need to continue vital research into breast cancer so women at high risk have even more, potentially less-invasive, prevention options."

Jolie addresses the fact that only a fraction of cancers result from an inherited gene mutation in her article. She writes: "Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average."

"Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex."

Jolie's treatment began  on 2 February "with a procedure known as 'nipple delay'" which rules out disease behind the nipple duct and draws extra blood flow to the area which increases the risk of the nipple being saved for use in reconstructive surgery.

She describes the mastectomy in detail: "I had the major surgery, where the breast tissue is removed and temporary fillers are put in place. The operation can take eight hours. You wake up with drain tubes and expanders in your breasts. It does feel like a scene out of a science-fiction film. But days after surgery you can be back to a normal life."

"Nine weeks later, the final surgery is completed with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant. There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?