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Angelina Jolie has double mastectomy

Tuesday 14 May 2013 5:17 p.m.

Actress Angelina Jolie has undergone a preventative double mastectomy to reduce her risk of breast cancer.

The 37-year-old Wanted star and wife of Brad Pitt has written an essay in the New York Times saying she completed the medical procedures at the end of April and was going public with her story in the hope that "other women can benefit from [her] experience."

A double mastectomy involves surgery to remove the tissue of both breasts. Jolie says her final procedure finished "with the reconstruction of the breasts with an implant".

Jolie's mother battled cancer for a decade and died aged 56, she says, adding that doctors calculated she had an 87 percent chance of contracting the disease herself.

"For any woman reading this," she writes, "I hope it helps you to know you have options.

"I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.

"Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of."

Jolie says her chances of developing breast cancer have now dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent and her children no longer need fear losing her to the disease.

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