(FOX 11 / FOX News) Angelina Jolie says she underwent a preventive double mastectomy earlier this year because she carries a gene that increases her risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
In a New York Times article published late Monday, Jolie says she carries the "faulty" BRCA1 gene. She writes that the risk of developing cancer varies, but doctors estimated she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
Jolie, whose mother died at age 56 after a long battle with cancer, says she decided to have the preventive mastectomy to be "proactive" for the sake of her six children with her partner, Brad Pitt.
"Today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action," Jolie writes.
Jolie says she began the process on Feb. 2 and it took three months for her to fully recover. She says she is sharing her story to encourage other women who may not be informed about the procedure and their options.
"I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy," she writes. "But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."
From GDLA Monday: