Sunday, Angelina Jolie’s aunt, Debbie Martin, died of breast cancer at the age of 61. Martin was the younger sister of Jolie’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand, who died of ovarian cancer in 2007 at 56. Jolie’s genetic disposition towards breast cancer and ovarian cancer, due to the presence of the defective BRCA1 gene, motivated the actress to have a preventative double mastectomy. She also plans to have both of her ovaries removed.
Jolie is not the only celebrity who has gone through a double mastectomy. Here are five others.
In 2008, when she was 36, Christina Applegate was diagnosed with breast cancer. The daughter of a breast cancer survivor, Applegate planned to treat the cancer, which had not spread beyond her left breast, with radiation. But after a test revealed that she had the BRCA1 gene, she decided to have a double mastectomy. Applegate explained, “It just seemed like, ‘I don’t want to have to deal with this again. I don’t want to keep putting that stuff in my body. I just want to be done with this.’ And I was just going to let them go.”
Sharon Osbourne was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2002 when she was 49. She underwent chemotherapy and had a foot of her colon removed. She then founded the Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. In 2012, Osbourne learned she had the BRCA1 gene and opted for a double mastectomy, though she didn’t have breast cancer. “As soon as I found out I had the breast cancer gene, I thought, ‘The odds are not in my favor’,” Osbcourne reflected. “I’ve had cancer before and I didn’t want to live under that cloud. I decided to just take everything off, and had a double mastectomy.”