Angelina Jolie Reveals Surgery to Remove Ovaries, Fallopian TubesBy Nancie George
Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie discusses her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to reduce cancer risk in an op-ed piece in Tuesday’s New York Times.
Jolie, who previously wrote about having a preventive double mastectomy two years ago, said she had an “estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer” because she carries a mutation in the BRCA1 gene.
Jolie had been planning to have her latest surgical procedure, known as a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy http://www.medpagetoday.com/HematologyOncology/BreastCancer/46135
, when a call from her doctor about blood test results prompted more immediate action. The test revealed there were a number of elevated inflammatory markers that “taken together … could be a sign of early cancer.” Her doctor advised her to see a surgeon and have her ovaries checked.
“I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours,” writes Jolie, who is married to actor Brad Pitt. “The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful.”
Further tests found Jolie to be tumor-free, but she still elected to have her ovaries removed. “My doctors indicated I should have preventive surgery about a decade before the earliest onset of cancer in my female relatives,” she writes. “My mother’s ovarian cancer was diagnosed when she was 49. I’m 39.”
Jolie underwent the procedure last week, but she says she remains prone to cancer because of her family history. “I will look for natural ways to strengthen my immune system,” she writes. “I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family.”
Jolie, who writes that the surgery “puts a woman into forced menopause,” is undergoing hormone replacement therapy http://www.dreddyclinic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=122&t=34148
. “I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes,” she adds.
“It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue,” Jolie writes. “You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.”
We want to know: What do you think about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have preventive surgery and discussing it publicly?