Brad Pitt says fiancée Angelina Jolie is doing well four months after undergoing a preventive double mastectomy, and is moving forward with her life as she always has.
“She’s doing great,” Pitt told Good Morning America June 17. “When she wrote her piece we had already come out the other end and we’re feeling very good about it. [She’s back to] business as usual.
“She has always been the brave, bold individual that I fell for — and sexy as ever.”
Pitt, 49, says he has been moved by the support from around the world, and is especially happy that Jolie has shed a spotlight on cancer prevention.
“We were really surprised and moved at how many other people were dealing with the same issue,” he said. “[Angelina’s] idea was that someone could learn from her story. She has certainly shown that if you do your research, you can make a decision that’s best for you.”
In May 2013, Jolie made headlines after revealing that she had undergone a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer, which killed her aunt, mother and grandmother. Cancer also claimed the lives of her grandfather and uncle.
When she took the proactive measure, Jolie explained that genetic tests revealed she was a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, which gave her an 87 percent risk of getting breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of contracting ovarian cancer. As a result of her double mastectomy, Angelina’s breast-cancer risk has dropped to under five percent.
While Jolie’s decision was widely applauded as brave, some have criticized the pre-emptive move as unnecessary. Singer Melissa Etheridge, herself a carrier of the BRCA gene, has slammed the move as “fearful.”
“I have that gene mutation too and [a preventive double mastectomy is] not something I would believe in for myself,” Etheridge told the Washington Blade June 13. “I wouldn’t call it the brave choice. I actually think it’s the most fearful choice you can make when confronting anything with cancer.”
Etheridge, who overcame breast cancer in 2005 with a lumpectomy and five rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, said Angelina shouldn’t have gotten surgery, but instead should rely on proper nutrition and stress control to keep cancer at bay.
“My belief is that cancer comes from inside you and so much of it has to do with the environment of your body,” says Etheridge, 52. “It’s the stress that will turn that gene on or not.
“Plenty of people have the gene mutation but it never comes to cancer, so I would say to anybody faced with that, that choice [of getting a preventive mastectomy] is way down the line on the spectrum of what you can do and to really consider the advancements we’ve made in nutrition and stress levels.”
When asked about the comment, Pitt diplomatically replied, “Oh, I didn’t know [she said that]. “Melissa’s an old friend of mine. I’m sure we’ll talk on the phone.”
Meanwhile, Jolie has stated that she got the preventive mastectomy because of her family history of cancer deaths and her personal risk profile based on genetic tests. She never encouraged other women to seek preventive surgery.
Update: Melissa Etheridge backpedals on Angelina Jolie diss