Angelina Jolie is happy she went public with her preventive double mastectomy because it raised awareness of breast cancer. Jolie said she's touched by all the people she meets who share their own cancer stories with her.
“Wherever I go, usually I run into women and we talk about health issues, women’s issues, breast cancer, ovarian cancer," Angelina told EW. "I’ve talked to men about their daughters’ and wives’ health.
"It makes me feel closer to other people who deal with the same things and have either lost their parents or are considering surgeries or wondering about their children. I was very, very moved by all the support and kindness from so many people.”
It has been one year since Jolie underwent a preventive double mastectomy after genetic tests revealed she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of contracting ovarian cancer.
As a result of her mastectomy, Angelina's breast-cancer risk has dropped to under five percent. Jolie's mother, aunt, uncle, grandmother and grandfather all died from cancer, forcing the Oscar winner to take the radical step of preemptively removing both her breasts.
Jolie is doing well now after the double mastectomy, but will remove her ovaries in the near future. The ovary-removal procedure, called an oophorectomy, calls for the removal of both ovaries. Removing the ovaries reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by 80 to 90 percent by reducing the amount of estrogen and progesterone circulating in the body.
"There's still another surgery to have, which I haven't yet," said Angelina. "I'll get advice from all these wonderful people who I've been talking to, to get through that next stage."
Jolie said despite her health issues, she focuses on raising her six childrenwith partner Brad Pitt. She credits them with helping her laugh and feel like a kid again.
"Outside my home I can be somewhat serious," she said. "[But with my family] we laugh and we play, and I'm light again. I'm a kid again, and I'm loving and soft because they've brought that back in my life."
Angelina, who has been a United Nations goodwill ambassador since 2001, discussed how her charity work has changed her life in Notes from My Travels.