Angelina Jolie has revealed that she has undergone a double mastectomy after finding out that she was of high risk of breast cancer. The actress made the announcement in an opinion piece in The New York Times.

The actress’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died six years ago at the age of 56 after a ten-year battle with ovarian cancer. Jolie has since been told that she carries the faulty gene, BRCA1, which means that she had an 87% chance of getting breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer.

She wrote: "Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could. 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 underwent three months of medical treatment beginning in February of this year.

She added: "But I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience. Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness. But today it is possible to find out through a blood test whether you are highly susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer, and then take action."

She revealed that her risk of getting breast cancer has now dropped to less that 5%.

"I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer," she wrote in the widely-praised piece in The New York Times. "It is reassuring that they see nothing that makes them uncomfortable. They can see my small scars and that’s it.

"Everything else is just Mommy, the same as she always was. And they know that I love them and will do anything to be with them as long as I can. On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity."

Jolie (37) also paid tribute to her husband Brad Pitt for his support over the past few months.