Actress and director Angelina Jolie announced today in a New York Times op-ed piece that she recently underwent a double mastectomy to cut her chances of developing breast cancer.
Jolie wrote she decided to receive genetic testing since she was at a higher risk of breast cancer — her mother fought the disease for almost a decade before dying at age 56 — and because she wanted to make sure she would be there for her children, according to her New York Times column.
Jolie said she carries a "faulty" gene, BRCA1, which raised her risk of developing breast cancer to 87 percent, according to the Associated Press. After having the double mastectomy, her chances of developing breast cancer dropped to five percent, according to the Associated Press.
The BRCA1 gene is a tumor-suppressing gene, which can only be detected by genetic testing, according to CNN.com. Such testing can cost between hundreds to thousands of dollars and is not covered by insurance companies in all cases, according to CNN.
Only 3 to 5 percent of women who develop breast cancer have a BRCA gene and testing for the gene will only likely help those who have a family history of breast and/or ovarian cancers, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
David Kroll, a Forbes contributor, provided a cautionary perspective Tuesday on Jolie's decision, stating he was concerned that the highly publicized announcement may cause more fear in women with breast cancer and push newly-diagnosed patients toward a double mastectomy, according to the Forbes article.
He also wrote he worried the announcement may cause some women to steer away from preventative measures, such as regular mammograms and self-examinations, over the fear of a double mastectomy, according to Forbes.
What do you think about Jolie's decision and announcement? Let us know in the comments section.