Angelina Jolie has revealed that she went through preventative surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes last week after tests indicated signs of potentially cancerous inflammatory markers.
Jolie, 39, underwent preventative mastectomy in 2003 after genetic tests showed an 87 percent risk of her developing breast cancer. In an op-ed for the New York Times, she mentioned that the BRCA1 gene, the same one which highlighted the risk of breast cancer, also underlined a 50 percent chance of ovarian cancer.
As a result, the actress, film director, UN special envoy, and mother of six had been contemplating going through the procedure for some time. While the surgery is not as complex as the mastectomy, Jolie stated that the “effects are more severe”, putting women “into forced menopause”.
Prior to the operation, Jolie said she “was readying [herself] physically and emotionally, discussing options with doctors, researching alternative medicine, and mapping [her] hormones for estrogen or progesterone replacement”. She felt that she had more time to decide when she would undergo the operation.
But after further tests revealed higher levels of inflammation two weeks ago, Jolie and her doctors decided it was necessary to go through the procedure. Her husband, Brad Pitt, flew in from France to be with her. She is now in menopause as a result of the operation.
Jolie reiterated that her decisions are unique to her, and a history of hereditary cancer, which took her mother, grandmother, and aunt, compelled her to take the decision. She also added that younger women can opt to have their fallopian tubes removed while keeping their ovaries so they can still have children.
In her op-ed, she wrote that “it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power”.▪