Angelina Jolie made the brave and bold decision to get a preventative double mastectomy earlier this year, the Oscar-winning actress revealed in a New York Times article published Monday, May 13. The 37-year-old mother of six explained that genetic tests showed she carries the BRCA1 gene, which increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
"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," Jolie explained. "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."
The engaged In the Land of Blood and Honey director added, "I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has."
Shortly after the article was published, dozens of celebrities offered messages of support via Twitter. Sheryl Crow and Giuliana Rancic -- both of whom are breast cancer survivors -- were among the first to thank the Tomb Raider star for sharing her story with the world.
"I commend Angelina Jolie for her courage and thoughtfulness in sharing her story today regarding her mastectomy. So brave!" tweeted Crow, who has been cancer-free since 2006. "Ladies, please check out Angelina Jolie's story today, especially if you have breast cancer in your family history."
Rancic, who underwent a double mastectomy in December 2011, tweeted, "Angelina Jolie reveals double mastectomy. Proud of her for using her incredible platform to educate women."
The Hunger Games' Elizabeth Banks also commended the Salt star, writing, "Much respect & for sharing in classy way: Angelina Jolie on why she had a double mastectomy & how it can save lives." Kristen Bell, meanwhile, tweeted a link to the article and added, "An admirable op ed by Angelina Jolie."
Other celebrities who voiced their support for the star included Mindy Kaling, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Nia Vardalos, Marlee Matlin, Amanda de Cadenet and David Krumholtz.