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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Actress Angelina Jolie has announced she underwent a preventative double mastectomy in February.

In an op-ed piece for Tuesday’s New York Times, Jolie, whose mother died of breast cancer at the age of 56, wrote that she made the decision after doctors told her she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer because she carries the BRCA1 gene.

The 37-year-old said her chance of getting breast cancer dropped to five percent after the procedure.

“I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear that they’ll lose me to breast cancer,” Jolie penned.

After having both breasts removed, the actress says she went back nine weeks later for reconstructive surgery.

“I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is loving and supportive…Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries,” she wrote.

Jolie said she wanted to speak out about her situation to let women know that it may be tough, but there are options available.

“I chose not to keep my story private because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer,” she said.

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