Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

Angelina Jolie 'couldn't keep surgery secret'

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie's surgeon reveals the actress felt a deep responsibility to share her ordeal.

The 38-year-old actress revealed she underwent a preventative double mastectomy earlier this year in a New York Times op-ed piece published in May.

Beverly Hills surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk treated the actress.

Dr. Funk spoke with Los Angeles magazine about her time with Angelina and revealed the star felt it was her responsibility to share her medical choice with women.

"She knew always that in her philanthropic core she couldn't keep this a secret and be who she is. She always knew," Dr. Funk said.

Finding time to heal out of the spotlight was a consideration for the star.

What proved most challenging was determining when and how to reveal to the public what she had gone through.

"[Angelina] waited to find the perfect timing in her personal and professional life, but I think most importantly in her soul," Dr. Funk explained.

"She is intensely private, but she calculated the moment when she would be ready to reveal something so personal."

Angelina revealed she made the surgery decision after learning she carried a BRCA1 gene mutation which significantly increased her chances of developing breast cancer.

Tests showed the actress is also at an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. She is believed to be planning to have her ovaries and uterus removed before her 40th birthday to further lower her risk.

Angelina's aunt passed away from breast cancer earlier this year and her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died from ovarian cancer in 2007.

The actress touched on her family's heart-breaking struggle with the disease in the Times article.

"My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under five percent as a result of the February procedure," Angelina wrote.

"I can tell my children they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."

Angelina shares six children with fiancé Brad Pitt.

Her physician applauds the star with being so forthcoming.

She credits Angelina with helping women around the world make educated choices about their bodies.

"When someone who is arguably the most beautiful woman in the world removes the part of her body that is symbolic of femininity and sexuality, you have to say, 'Why would she do that?'" Dr. Funk questioned.

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