Angelina Jolie's Doctor on Her Mastectomy: 'She Couldn't Keep This a Secret'
Angelina Jolie shocked the world when she revealed in May that she underwent a double mastectomy, but her doctor says the actress knew she wouldn't be able to keep the preventive procedures a secret.
In the September issue of Los Angeles magazine, Dr. Kristi Funk says the actress "waited to find the perfect timing in her personal and professional life, but, I think most importantly, in her soul" to share the news, which she revealed in an op-ed piece in the New York Times.
"She is intensely private, but she calculated the moment when she would be ready to reveal something so personal," Funk says, as quoted by People.
In her NYT piece, Jolie wrote that she underwent the preventive double mastectomy because of her high risk of breast cancer. Doctors told Jolie -- whose mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died six years ago at age 56 after a 10-year battle with ovarian cancer -- that she carries a "faulty" gene, BRCA1. They estimated that she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
Says Funk: "When someone who is arguably the most beautiful woman in the world removes the part of her body that is symbolic of femininity and sexuality, you have to say, 'Why would she do that?' "
The doctor added that Jolie realized she had to share the news because of her desire to inspire others.
"She knew always that in her philanthropic core she couldn't keep this a secret and be who she is," Funk says. "She always knew."
Jolie underwent three months of medical procedures, which began Feb. 2 and were completed April 27. The procedures included reconstruction of both breasts with implants, a secret she kept throughout the process from nearly everyone, including her father, Jon Voight.
She said it wasn't an easy decision for her to make, but her chances of developing breast cancer have dropped to less than five percent.
"Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could," Jolie wrote. "I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex."