NEW YORK (AP) -- Angelina Jolie is being hailed for her bravery after undergoing a double mastectomy to avoid possible cancer.
In an op-ed in The New York Times Tuesday, the actress said she made the decision after learned she had an inherited genetic mutation that put her at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie wrote that her late mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of cancer at 56, before she was able to meet most of her grandchildren and hinted that she might, at some point, have her ovaries removed.
Doctors and genetic counselors say Jolie's public revelation could save lives by increasing awareness. But they also note that the genetic mutation is very specific and Jolie's course of action makes sense for only a small category of women.
They also stress that no one solution is right for everyone who tests positive for the gene.
289-a-13-(Rachel Brem, director breast imaging and intervention at George Washington University Hospital, in AP interview)-"the BRCA2 gene"-Rachel Brem at George Washington University Hospital says Angelina Jolie's genetic risk of breast cancer is very rare. (14 May 2013)
290-a-12-(Rachel Brem, director breast imaging and intervention at George Washington University Hospital, in AP interview)-"developing breast cancer"-Rachel Brem at George Washington University Hospital says Angelina Jolie took a different approach to dealing with her genetic risk of developing breast cancer. (14 May 2013)
GRAPHICSBANK: Angelina Jolie headshot, actress, over EKG waveform texture, lettering "DOUBLE MASTECTOMY", finished graphic (14 May 2013)
APPHOTO NYET114: FILE - This March 8, 2012 file photo shows actress Angelina Jolie at the Women in the World Summit in New York. Jolie says that she has had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that made it extremely likely she would get breast cancer. The Oscar-winning actress and partner to Brad Pitt made the announcement in an op-ed she authored for Tuesday's New York Times under the headline, "My Medical Choice." She writes that between early February and late April she completed three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, file) (8 Mar 2012)
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