Angelina Jolie announced that she underwent surgery last week to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes fearing possible cancer, the actress wrote in an op-ed in the New York Times on Monday. As a result of the procedure, Jolie, who has six children, including three adopted ones, is now in menopause and “will not be able to have any more children.”
The 39-year-old actress, who lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer, carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene that gave rise to risks of breast and ovarian cancer. Jolie’s blood test results revealed “a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated, and taken together they could be a sign of early cancer.” After doctors disclosed the test results, Jolie called her husband Brad Pitt in France and the same day she went to see the surgeon who had treated her mother. She revealed that her PET/CT scan results were clear and the tumor test was also negative.
In 2013, Jolie underwent a double mastectomy surgery to prevent breast cancer, which she had an 87 percent chance of contracting because of her genetic history.
"I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt," Jolie wrote in the op-ed. "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."
However, there was still a minor chance of an early stage cancer and doctors suggested that surgery was the “best option” not only because of the BRCA gene, but also because “three women in my family have died from cancer.” Jolie revealed that her mother’s ovarian cancer was diagnosed at the age of 49.
"Some women take birth control pills or rely on alternative medicines combined with frequent checks. There is more than one way to deal with any health issue. The most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally," she wrote.
Jolie underwent the laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy last week, and doctors said that she had a “small benign tumor on one ovary, but no signs of cancer in any of the tissues.”
Jolie wrote that she still remains prone to cancer as it is not possible to remove all the risks, adding that she plans to find natural ways that will help her strengthen her immune system.
"I feel feminine, and grounded 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'," Jolie wrote.