WHEN Angelina Jolie announced that she’d had a double mastectomy to greatly reduced her high risk of getting breast cancer, we listened. Like her or not, her actions were brave. But on twitter, many took another view. They pitied Brad Pitt for having lost “his” breasts. They called Jolie selfish. They called her not a woman. They perverted karma into a kind of painful retribution. They tweeted:
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WRITINGin the NY Times, Angelina Jolie talks about her double mastectomy. Many women have been brave enough to do this. But when you have the looks of a Hollywood star, the drastic action seems ever more incredible.
Jolie was told she had an 87 percent chance of getting breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer.
My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56. She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.
We often speak of “Mommy’s mommy,” and I find myself trying to explain the illness that took her away from us. They have asked if the same could happen to me. I have always told them not to worry, but the truth is I carry a “faulty” gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that ...