The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

May 15, 2013

Jolie: From girl with tattoos to girl with a cause

(Continued)

As for Jolie's op-ed piece about her mastectomy, "we all know that she didn't do that for herself but as giving an example to all the women on this planet Earth who are suffering from the same disease," Fremaux said. "We knew she was a great star, but she's a great person, as well."

Jolie wrote about her mother's death from cancer at 56 and that she carries a gene herself that, according to doctors, left her with an 87 percent chance of breast cancer and 50 percent chance of ovarian cancer. She describes in detail the procedures she underwent from early February to late April to remove tissue and reconstruct her breasts with implants.

She was treated at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills, Calif. Dr. Kristi Funk, who founded the center in 2007, read a short statement to reporters Tuesday, saying "we hope that the awareness she is raising around the world will save countless lives."

The procedures reduced her risk of breast cancer to less than 5 percent, Jolie wrote.

"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," Jolie wrote. "I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."

One of the most remarkable aspects of the story is how two of the most recognizable people in the world were able to make repeated incognito trips to Pink Lotus, where Jolie writes that Pitt was there for every minute of her surgeries. Jolie and Pitt are hounded by the press, so how they kept this a secret is anyone's guess.

"It's almost unspeakably amazing. In this world there is no privacy. David Petraeus couldn't keep a secret," said Hollywood publicist Michael Levine, who once represented Jolie's father, Jon Voight. "It's hard to imagine how they did it."

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