Bravery thy name is Angelina Jolie
Recently, the world was shocked when it was announced that Angelina Jolie had undergone a double mastectomy as a pre-emptive measure against breast cancer, a disease which snatched her mother away from her. Jolie took this incredibly brave – and some say, exceedingly hasty – decision once she learnt that she was susceptible to breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer because of a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which she was a carrier of. After she spoke to the media post recovery, she said that it was estimated by doctors that there was 87 % risk of her contracting breast cancer and about 50 % risk of ovarian cancer afflicting her and once she heard this she made her decision, keeping her large brood and her partner Brad Pitt in mind. A simple blood test can determine the risk of cancer. Post the surgery, the percentage of risk has dropped to less than 5 %. Jolie is not the only one to take this incredibly brave step – another well known actress, Christina Applegate also had her breasts removed because she carried the dreaded gene. Jolie went public with this very personal choice because she wanted to spread awareness about breast and ovarian cancer and she says that millions of women have been inspired by her to get themselves tested so that at least they are in the know about their risks, even if they do not decide to go ahead with a procedure that is as dramatic as the one she opted for. And she says that the reason she did this was so that she would live a long and happy life with her family and spare them the pain of losing her to the dreaded disease. She says that the reason she publicly shared her experience was so that women knew that they had an option, if they had any family history of breast or ovarian cancer, then there was something that they could do, instead of passively wait for the disease to claim their lives. Best known for her stately height and voluptuous figure, this step in the direction of androgyny has taken the world by storm. Of course, skilled doctors have reconstructed Jolie’s chest and have also saved healthy tissue, but fact still remains that one of America’s ‘sexiest’ women, is now without her famous assets – but Jolie says – and Brad Pitt seconds her – that a double mastectomy has done nothing to make her feel less of a woman. In fact, she has made her partner and her family proud because she has taken this brave step, keeping them in mind. She said that she can now tell her children that they will not lose her to breast cancer. The actress made her first public appearance post the surgery at the premiere of her fiancée's film World War Z where the crowd greeted her with loud and appreciative cheers. And why not? After all, she took matters into her own hands and made the decision with strength and a clear mind – giving us yet another example of how empowered she is and more importantly, how confident she is of her inner self.