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Actress Angelina Jolie Shares Story Of Her Double Masectomy

Saying that she is "writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience," actress Angelina Jolie reveals on the op-ed pages of The New York Times that earlier this year she had a double masectomy to substantially reduce the chances that she will develop breast cancer.

Jolie, 37, explains that because she carries a "faulty" gene, BRCA1, "I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman." Her mother succumbed to cancer at the age of 56.

"Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could," Jolie writes. "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."

The actress adds that:

"I choose 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. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."

On All Things Considered in August 2010, NPR's Patti Neighmond reported about a Journal of the American Medical Association study that showed the "clearest evidence yet that women carrying the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes should consider preventive surgery because they are at a very high risk for breast and ovarian cancers."

Dr. Kenneth Offit, chief of the clinical genetics service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York told All Things Considered that the study "confirms powerfully that genetic testing as well as surgery together are a powerful strategy to prevent breast and ovarian cancer."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Costume Designer Colleen Atwood Took Unlikely Path To Hollywood Royalty

Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood knows tough times. A single mom at 17 who once worked at a French fry factory to make ends meet is Hollywood royalty today. A favorite of director Tim Burton, Atwood is now costume designer for his adaptation of the darkly comic, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children and the upcoming Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
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Carnegie Deli Says It Is Closing Down Its Landmark NYC Restaurant

As news of the closing rippled far beyond the deli's home turf in Manhattan Friday, hundreds of people responded with sadness and disbelief.
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The VA Will Now Pay For Fertility Treatment For Wounded Vets

Congress has reversed a law passed in 1992 that prohibited the Department of Veterans Affairs from paying for IVF for veterans and their families, after mounting political pressure.
NPR

The United Nations Is Launching A Space Mission

The U.N. is planning to send its first spacecraft into orbit, packed with scientific experiments from countries that can't afford their own space programs.

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