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Angelina Jolie Had Double Mastectomy

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:06 PM CDT

Angelina Jolie has revealed she had a voluntary double mastectomy.  

The actress says she underwent the procedure after discovering she has a gene that gives her a 87 percent risk of getting cancer.  

In the editorial pages of today's New York Times she writes, "... the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But is one I am very happy that I made."

Jolie discovered she carried the deadly BRCA gene after losing her mother to ovarian cancer at the age of 56 in 2007.    She opened up about her mom in an interview with "60 Minutes" in 2011.

"She was the most generous, loving...  She's better than me."

Jolie says she didn't want her six children to lose their mother to cancer.  She began three months of secret procedures in February, finishing about two weeks ago.

During that time, Jolie made a humanitarian visit to the Republic of Congo, attended the Women in the World Summit in New York and the G-8 Summit in London.

Jolie had her operations here at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills.  The actress says the surgeries were successful, and her chances of getting breast cancer are now less than five percent.

Jolie says her fiancé, Brad Pitt was by her side "for every minute of the surgeries," and that they managed to find moments to laugh together.   Jolie says she and Pitt knew it was the right thing to do for their family, and that it brought them closer.

Jolie says she shared her story so she could help other women at risk of getting cancer, and to let all women know that gene testing is available. Jolie says her gene testing also revealed she has a 50 percent chance of ovarian cancer, and deciding what to do about that risk is her next battle.

Angelina Jolie Had Double Mastectomy

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