Nearly two years after her preventative mastectomy, Angelina Jolie has had another major procedure done. The actress revealed in a New York Times op-ed piece that a terrifying cancer scare led her to have surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tube.
In her essay, the 39-year-old, who carries a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, giving her an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, revealed that this surgery is less complex than her last one, but has a more severe effect in that it would put her into forced menopause.
A call from her doctor two weeks ago finally forced Angelina to get the ball rolling in scheduling the surgery — “There are a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated, and taken together they could be a sign of early cancer,” he told her.
“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt,” she explained. “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 meet my grandchildren.” Luckily, her tumor test was negative, and while that still meant there was a chance of early stage cancer, “that was minor compared with a full-blown tumor.”
The drastic decision to remove the ovaries and fallopian tube was made not only because Angelina carries the BRCA1 gene, but because she lost both her mother and grandmother to cancer. Of course, the early on-set menopause means she will not be able to have any more children biologically.
“It is not easy to make these decisions,” the A-lister concluded. “But 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.”
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