Angelina Jolie says she's had a preventive double mastectomy after learning she carried a gene that makes it extremely likely she'll get breast cancer.
Jolie authored an op-ed for the New York Times where she writes that in April she finished three months of surgical procedures to remove both breasts.
The 37-year-old Jolie says she made the choice after her mother died of breast cancer at age 56, and after doctors told her she had an 87 percent chance of contracting it herself.
"I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. 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," she wrote.
She says she's kept the process private but is writing about it now with hopes she can help other women.
Jolie has six children - Maddox, 11, Pax, nine, Zahara, eight, Shiloh, six, and four-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne - with partner Brad Pitt.
Messages left for Jolie representatives were not immediately returned.
- AP, nzherald.co.nz