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Angelina Jolie removes breasts to avoid breast cancer

Published:Tuesday | May 14, 2013 | 1:35 PM


Angelina Jolie revealed today, that she had a double mastectomy and reconstruction with implants because she carries a gene mutation that puts her at high risk of developing breast cancer.

Jolie said, "the results can be beautiful".

For women who already have the disease, the choice used to be whether to have the lump or the whole breast removed.

Now there are more options that allow faster treatment, smaller scars, fewer long-term side effects and better cosmetic results.

It has led to a new specialty – 'oncoplastic' surgery – combining oncology, which focuses on cancer treatment, and plastic surgery to restore appearance.

Newer ways to rebuild breasts have made mastectomy a more appealing option for some women.

More of them are getting immediate reconstruction with an implant at the same time the cancer is removed rather than several operations that have been standard for many years.

Skin and nipples increasingly are being preserved for more natural results.

Jolie, for example, was able to keep her nipples and presumably her skin.

Doctors are testing a way to avoid surgery altogether, destroying small tumors by freezing them with a probe through the skin.

Jolie wrote in an op-ed piece in the New York Times that she had tissue expanders and then implants placed nine weeks later. "There have been many advances in this procedure in the last few years, and the results can be beautiful," she wrote.


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