Mother-of-six Angelina Jolie shocked fans with the news of her recent preventative double mastectomy. After testing positive for a faulty BRCA1 gene, the Academy Award-winning actress put the spotlight on the sensitive procedure that many other women have elected to have.
Angelina is not the first famous woman to open up about this surgery. Let’s take a look at five celebrity moms who have undergone the procedure.
After losing her mom to ovarian cancer and then learning that she has the BRCA1 gene mutation, Angelina Jolie, 37, opted to have a preventive double mastectomy. She also plans to have her ovaries removed.
In May 2013, the Salt star went public about the procedure in an op-ed piece, writing that she felt “empowered” by her decision. “Life comes with many challenges,” she wrote. “The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.”
At age 36, Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2008. At first, she opted to have a lumpectomy. But after learning she was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene mutation, she chose to have both breasts removed in a bilateral mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery a few months later.
“It came on really fast. It was one of those things that I woke up and it felt so right,” she told Oprah Winfrey. “It just seemed like, ‘I don’t want to have to deal with this again. I don’t want to keep putting that stuff in my body. I just want to be done with this.’ And I was just going to let them go.”
She added: “It can be very painful. It’s also a part of you that’s gone, so you go through a grieving process.”
At age 37, Giuliana Rancic was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. The E! News personality has spoken openly about her decision to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction.
“At the end, to be honest, all it came down to was just choosing to live, and not looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life,” Giuliana told TODAY.
“In helping other women, you end up helping yourself,” she said. “You end up being able to validate one of the most painful times in your life by realizing that maybe all the pain and the fear and the tears were worth it.”
The decision to undergo a bilateral mastectomy was an easy one for Wanda Sykes. After being diagnosed with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), the comedienne wanted to give herself “the best odds” of beating the noninvasive breast cancer and sticking around for her partner Alex, and their 2-year-old twins Olivia and Lucas for many years to come.
“I made my decision because I love life,” Wanda, 47, said of her double mastectomy.
“My first thought was, ‘Really? Me, breast cancer?’” Wanda recalls of the day doctors discovered the cancer after her breast reduction surgery. “I just couldn’t believe it. But I knew this was doable.”
In November 2012, The Talk host Sharon Osbourne revealed she had undergone a preventive double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery at age 60 after learning she was at increased risk for breast cancer.
“As soon as I found out I had the breast cancer gene, I thought, ‘The odds are not in my favor,’” Sharon told Hello! “I’ve had cancer before, and I didn’t want to live under that cloud. I decided to just take everything off, and had a double mastectomy.”
She added: “For me, it wasn’t a big decision, it was a no-brainer. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with that shadow hanging over me. I want to be around for a long time and be a grandmother.”
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