In an act of prevention, Angelina recently underwent a double mastectomy. In an op-ed article for The New York Times, Angelina explains her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy (surgical removal of part of, or both breasts entirely). She had recently discovered that her chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer were extremely high. Her doctor gave her an 87% chance of contracting breast cancer, and a 50% chance of ovarian.

She is especially at risk because of a mutated gene, called BRCA1, that she carries. The National Cancer Institute describes BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility gene) as a class of genes known as tumor suppressors. Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer is linked to the mutation of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Jolie has a family history of ovarian cancer. Her mother, Marcheline Bertrand passed away  from the disease at age 56, back in 2007 .

Angelina, now 37, has six children with fiance' Brad Pitt. Her ultimate decider on whether or not to do the procedure: she didn't want her kids to worry about losing their mom to cancer, as she so devastatingly experienced.

She shares her feelings after having the surgery; "I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent."