Sad loss ... Angelina and mum Marcheline, who died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 56
Beauty ... Angelina in skin-tight suit for Tomb Raider role
Brave ... mastectomy has made Angelina closer to Brad
ANGELINA Jolie told yesterday how she had both her breasts removed to reduce her chances of dying of cancer like her tragic mum.
The Tomb Raider star, 37, lost 56-year-old Marcheline Bertrand — also an actress — to ovarian cancer in 2007.
She opted for her double mastectomy after doctors told her she carried the “faulty” BRCA1 gene and had an 87 per cent chance of contracting breast cancer plus a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer.
Mum-of-six Angelina began three months of medical procedures in Beverly Hills, California, in February with her movie hunk fiancé Brad Pitt at her side.
And yesterday she explained her decision — which was previously kept secret — in a bid to raise awareness and help other women.
Writing in a US newspaper, she said: “My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56.
"She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how gracious she was.
"We often speak of ‘Mommy’s mommy’ and I try to explain the illness that took her away from us.
"They have asked if the same could happen to me — I have always told them not to worry.
"But the truth is I carry a ‘faulty’ gene 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 minimise the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventative double mastectomy.”
Angelina, who may also have her ovaries removed, added: “My chances of breast cancer have dropped to under five per cent. I can tell my children they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
"Brad and I knew this was the right thing to do for our family and would bring us closer. And it has.
"For women reading this, I hope it helps 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 make informed choices.”
Breast cancer kills more than 458,000 people a year worldwide.
Brad, 49. said their family were delighted with Angelina, whose breasts were reconstructed with implants following her ops.
He said: “I find Angie’s choice absolutely heroic. This is a happy day for our family.”
X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne, 60, told last year how she too had a double mastectomy after learning that she also carried the gene.
Last night she praised Angelina — who insisted her op had “in no way” diminished her femininity.
Sharon said: “She is an amazing woman. She will have empowered millions all over the world. I think it makes her sexier than ever.”
Singer Sheryl Crow, who battled breast cancer, tweeted: “I commend Angelina for her courage. So brave!”
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