Updated: Tue, 14 May 2013 10:15:00 GMT | By Ashley Spegel & MSN editors
Stars who beat breast cancer

Angelina Jolie goes public about double masectomy

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Angelina Jolie has went public about recently undergoing a preventative double mastectomy due to her high genetic risk of developing breast cancer. In an open letter to the New York Times, she revealed that in April 2013 she had completed three months of medical procedures and reconstructive surgery, and that she was going public with the news to raise awareness. "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."

Breast cancer causes around 458,500 deaths worldwide each year -  around 13.7% of cancer deaths in women. Breast cancer awareness isn’t just about getting diagnosed and treated or showing support. Prioritising your health, even though you’ve been forced to do so, while painful at the time, could lead to a healthier than imagined future.

Angelina Jolie, Kylie Minogue, Christina Applegate and Sheryl Crow demonstrate that some people don’t just survive breast cancer: having fought for their lives, they help others not just by being open about their struggles and triumphs and raising awareness, but by working with charities (and, in some cases, starting their own).

In this photo gallery, we celebrate Angelina Jolie and other inspirational celebrities who have met the disease head-on.