ByScott Pierce, writer at
Yell at me on Twitter: @gingerscott. Managing Editor at Moviepilot.
Scott Pierce

has always been a pioneer, opening up to the public about extremely personal experiences and battles. From drug abuse, sexuality, cutting, adoption, to her work as a UN ambassador, she's always been a transgressive figure that pushes societal boundaries. That's never been more true than today. In an op-ed published in The New York Times, she opens up about her medical decision to undergo a double mastectomy after discovering she had a faulty gene that predisposes her to the illness that took her mother's life:

They [her children] 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.

My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman.

Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average.

Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex.

She says that she wrote the piece in order to educate women about their health, claiming that her chances of developing breast or ovarian cancer have dropped to 5 percent. Powerful stuff.

The Oscar winner will next be seen in Maleficent next year.


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