Since Angelina Jolie had this procedure, I thought I will take the opportunity to provide the simplest explanation for what she did and why. Also, if you are in a similar situation, you will have enough information to start the conversation with your personal physician.
Genetic testing to detect the probability of breast cancer: In recent years, scientists have been able to develop a method in which by analyzing your genetic makeup and finding out your family history, they can tell you the diseases that you are likely to have. These are obviously just probabilities. In some cases, the information can be more predictive, for example, when your probability of having diabetes is 90%. At other times, they may say that your probability of getting cancer is 55%. That is why it is best to work with a counselor to decide what it means for you and what to do next.
Double mastectomy: This is a medical procedure in which the surgeons make an effort to remove the breast tissues most likely to be affected by cancer. You can never remove 100% of the tissues so the risk never goes away completely, but it is highly minimized.
Breast reconstruction surgery: Once the procedure above is done, the plastic surgeons can also reconstruct new breasts with the help of skin obtained from the procedure and using implants. Yes, there will be lots of scars but other than no one can actually notice that you have changed in any way.
Things to know: Genome testing is still an emerging area. It is also not widely available and can be very expensive. Typically, if you are an unfortunate customer of a greedy, heartless American health insurance company, chances are that it will not pay for any of these services or at least give you a very hard time.