TODAY | October 17, 2013
>> the most common form of cancer in the u.s., one in eight will develop it in here lifetime.
>> angelina jolie helped raise awareness earlier this year when she went public to have a decision to have a double mastectomy. now her surgeon is speaking out about the impact she's had. she's an international super star , but earlier this 84, angelina jolie made headlines with a personal decision. at 37-years-old, jolie revealed she had undergone preventtive surgery, a double mastectomy because she had a 87% risk of developing breast cancer . in a new york times op-ed says her decision was influenced by her mom's long fight and eventual death from breast cancer at the age of 56.
>> lives already have truly begun to be saved.
>> reporter: he performed the reconstructive surgery . he says her decision to come forward is helping women around the world.
>> i already have seen and heard of women whose, who became proactive in their health care who said, i'm going to get gene tested. i'm going to get a mammogram.
>> on wednesday, the doctor spoke in hollywood, florida as part of breast reconstruction awareness day . he says women should involve a team of doctors from the very beginning of breast cancer treatment , including a plastic surgeon .
>> there's going to come a time when one's appearance in the mirror is going to again become important. we need to look down that long path and what we can do to hopefully regain a sense of wholeness and beauty.
>> you never think it's going to happen to you.
>> mary burns , a mother of four, found out she had breast cancer in 2009 . she opted to have a double mastectomy.
>> i was told i needed to talk to a plastic surgeon . i authority, why would i go to a plastic surgeon ? my surgeon said, no, no, no, it's a team approach. you into toad talk to a plastic surgeon .
>> the doctor told her to think beyond the cancer.
>> do you want to live with a scar? every time you look in the mirror, you are going to think of cancer. they were the best word he said to me.
>> it's treating the individual as a whole person in helping her to restore her sense of beauty, her sense of wholeness.
>> now, mary is cancer-free and happy with her decision.
>> when i put on a pretty ball gown on a pretty dress, i feel pretty and that's so important because you don't want to go around the rest of your life carrying that big c on your shoulder. i think it's so important that you can stand up proud and feel good about how you look.
>> and under federal law , health insurers must cover reconstructive surgery , contact several cancer organization, they support this team approach to cancer treatment.