All In | May 14, 2013
>>> today, we saw an amazing and courageous and just really gracefully written op-ed "the new york times" by angelina jolie . under the title my medical choice. jolie explains her decision earlier this year to undergo a preventive double mastectomy, having both of her breasts removed to minimize her risk of getting breast cancer . it came after she underwent testinging to discover she had the brca1 gene. jolie 's mother dieded after a long battle with ovarian cancer at just the age of 56 and jolie writes about her children asking whether the decide that killed hir grandmother could affect her. i've always told them not to worry, the truth is is, i carry a faulty gene. doctors told her she had an 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer . earlier this year, she began three months of surgeries and now faces a dramatically lower risk to just under 5%. she writes i can tell me children they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer . it is reassuring they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. they can see my small scars and that's it. everything else is is just mommy and that's it. they know that i love them and will do anything to be with them. i don't feel less than a woman. it's an extremely brave admission and this type of tesing is amazingly expensive. but jolie hopes her op-ed will lead to more women with family history and the means to get tested. today, it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are susceptible and take action. now, most women's experiences do not make it into the "new york times," but in her decision, she is not unique. experts estimate there has been as much as a 50% rise in the surgeries in recent years, meaning more and more women armed with genetic information are making the decision to undergo major surgery now to minimize the risk later. when we come back, i'll speak with a journalist who found herself in the same situation and a congressman working to do something about this issue.