Angelina Jolie revealed today that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy in order to cut down her chances of getting breast or ovarian cancer.

Doctors told Jolie that she had an 87% chance of breast cancer and a 50% of ovarian cancer, so she made the difficult decision to have the preventive surgery.

Jolie published an article in the opinion section of Tuesday's New York Times explaining her decision.  She said the decision was calculated after her mother's lengthy fight against cancer, Marcheline Bertrand died in 2007, she was only 56.

According to NBC News, Jolie hopes to encourage other women,

"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," Jolie said in the Times article. "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."

Other famous women are showing their praise for Jolie and her decision.  NBC News also reports,

"Friends and fans were quick to support Jolie via messages on Twitter. Actress Marlee Matlin called her "brave, honest (and) strong." And "Veronica Mars" star Kristen Bell praised Jolie's article as "admirable."