Angelina Jolie was widely praised again Tuesday for going public about her proactive battle to reduce her risk of cancer, with the actress announcing in a New York Times op-ed that she had surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.
The 39-year-old actress underwent a double mastectomy two years ago to reduce her risk of cancer. She has a mutated BRCA1 gene that increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Her mother died of ovarian cancer.
Jolie wrote in the New York Times that a recent blood test raised red flags, and while additional testing found no evidence of tumors, there was still a risk.
“There was still a chance of early stage cancer, but that was minor compared with a full-blown tumor,” she wrote. “To my relief, I still had the option of removing my ovaries and fallopian tubes and I chose to do it.”
She noted that not all women with the same gene mutation she possesses will necessarily need surgery, but she said women should be proactive in the way they respond to their own situations. She said the fact her mother, grandmother and aunt all died of cancer made surgery the most sensible option for her.
“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt,” she wrote. “I told myself to stay calm, to be strong that that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren.”
She and actor Brad Pitt have three children, and have adopted three more.
“It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer,” she wrote. “I will look for natural ways to strengthen my immune system. I feel feminine, and ground in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, ‘Mom died of ovarian cancer.”‘
— City News Service