Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My friend Angelina Jolie is blessed in innumerable ways, but she bears a terrifying burden: She carries the BRCA1 gene, which gives her a nearly 90% chance of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer. She has watched her beloved mother, her aunt and her grandmother all perish to cancer. Two years ago, she learned the she carried this gene, and began a journey to save her own life, undergoing a frightening and difficult double mastectomy. Now she has passed through the second step, having her ovaries removed. I admire her for so many things, but none more than her dedication to making this intensely personal journey a public one, so that other women can learn from her experience, and perhaps save their own lives. Here is her raw and beautiful essay about this second step. "I know," she writes, "my children will never have to say, 'Mom died of ovarian cancer.'”

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