Angelina Jolie shocked the world with an op-ed piece in the New York Times where she admitted to having a double mastectomy to lessen her risk of breast cancer. The Oscar-winning actress got tested for the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene mutations that can cause cancer and doctors found she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. Being the mother of six, and the daughter of someone who lost their lives to ovarian cancer, Jolie decided to undergo the nine-week procedure to make sure she would be alive as long as possible with her family. Her long-time partner, Brad Pitt, supported her throughout the process and hailed her brave decision—a sentiment that was quickly shared by many in the Hollywood community affected by cancer. TV host Giuliana Rancic was just one celebrity to show her support, tweeting, “Angelina Jolie reveals double mastectomy. Proud of her for using her incredible platform to educate women.” As a result of her surgery, Jolie said her breast cancer risk had dropped to under 5 percent. “On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman,” she wrote in her op-ed. “I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.”
A grim fact: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the main cause of mortality in the United States. The good news is that it can be mainly avoided. According to the American Heart Association, adopting proper dietary and lifestyle practices can prevent 80% of cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke.