In a detailed New York Times op-ed, Jolie wrote, "The truth is I carry a 'faulty' gene, BRCA1, which sharply increases my risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventative double mastectomy."
The Oscar-winning actress detailed her three months worth of surgeries, thanking her longtime love, Brad Pitt, for being by her side every step of the way. She wrote that her risk of developing breast cancer has now gone from "from 87 percent to under 5 percent."
While some may consider this to be an extreme health makeover, Angelina Jolie is not the first Hollywood star to undergo the procedure.
In 2008, actress Christina Applegate underwent a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with cancer in one breast at age 36. During an appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the Emmy winner, whose mother also had breast cancer, said that she tested positive for a breast cancer susceptibility gene.
"Radiation was something temporary, and it wasn't addressing the issue of this coming back or the chance of it coming back in my left breast," she said. "It was one of those things that I woke up and it felt so right. It just seemed like, 'I don't want to have to deal with this again. I don't want to keep putting that stuff in my body. I just want to be done with this.'"
Applegate also revealed that before her surgery she staged a nude photo shoot for herself. "I made sure that I have close-up photographs of them from every angle so I can kind of remember them," she said.
Sharon Osbourne revealed in 2012 that she had a double mastectomy. "The Talk" co-host has been consistently vocal about her health scares. Osbourne told the U.K.'s Hello! magazine, "I've had cancer before and I didn't want to live under that cloud. I decided to just take everything off, and had a double mastectomy. It wasn't a big decision, it was a no-brainer. I didn't want to live the rest of my life with that shadow hanging over me."
The outspoken star also added, "I didn't even think of my breasts in a nostalgic way, I just wanted to be able to live my life without that fear all the time. It's not 'pity me', it's a decision I made that's got rid of this weight that I was carrying around."
In 2011, Giuliana Rancic opened up about her double mastectomy after she was given a cancer diagnosis while undergoing fertility treatments. At the time she told NBC's "Today" show that the recovery period was "hell." (She had an unforeseen complication and was unable to tolerate pain medication after the procedure).
The E! host told Health magazine she got through the tough times by telling herself: "'Even with this happening, you're still better off than a lot of people. For me, it was saying 'Yes, I have breast cancer…' But, you know what? Thank God I'm going to a good doctor. I'm so fortunate I found it early. I'm so fortunate to have Bill. I'm so fortunate that I have a boss who understands."
A year later, Giuliana and hubby Bill Rancic welcomed their first child, Duke, via surrogate.
"Today" show host Hoda Kotb went public with her breast cancer scare and subsequent double mastectomy in 2007, even tracking her battle via a video diary that was later shown on the morning show. In an essay she penned a year after her experience, Kotb wrote, "It blows my mind that in 2008 our answer to breast cancer is still lobbing off body parts and essentially setting off a bomb on a person's insides. It's my hope we'll find a cure in my lifetime."
She added, "Still, the most surprising side effects of cancer is that it has given me more courage than I ever thought possible. My life after cancer is more courageous and more honest and fuller than my life before."
Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates revealed that she had a double mastectomy in 2012. In a statement to Us Weekly the Oscar winner said, "After much consideration I underwent a double mastectomy. Luckily, I don't have to undergo radiation or chemo. My family calls me Kat because I always land on my feet and thankfully this is no exception. My doctors have assured me I'm going to be around for a long time. I'm looking forward to getting back to work doing what I love to do."
Bates also jokingly tweeted that she doesn't miss her breasts as much as "Harry's Law," her canceled NBC drama.
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