In a piece written for The New York Times, Angelina Jolie revealed how she underwent preventative surgery last week — getting her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in hopes to reduce her chances of getting cancer.
In her candid op-ed, she discusses how her decision to undergo the surgery came after a recent cancer scare in which a series of tests suggested she may be in the early stages of ovarian cancer.
“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt,” she wrote. “I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren.”
Luckily, those tests were wrong. So when she was told she was still a good candidate to get her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed, she took it.
“There is more than one way to deal with any health issue,” Jolie wrote. “The most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally.”
The procedure, called laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, forces the woman into menopause. Jolie will no longer be able to have children and will now have to take hormone replacements in order to maintain a proper hormone balance.
This is the second time the Oscar-winning actress has had to undergo a preventative surgery. For those who recall, she had a double mastectomy two years ago, an experience she also wrote about for The Times.
Jolie carries a defective BRCA1 gene, which puts her at high risk of developing breast an ovarian cancer. A typical woman has a 12 per cent chance of developing these cancers, but women with these defective genes are five times more likely. Unfortunately this is a hard truth that has hit the actress’ family hard. Her mother, grandmother and aunt have all died of cancer, which has driven Jolie to do these preventative procedures.
“It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue,” she concludes. Much like her op-ed two years ago, Jolie hopes to use her experience as a way to help other women going through similar situations.
“You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.