The humanitarian and filmmaker shares the latest development in her journey to minimize her cancer risk.
Image via Georges Biard/Wikimedia Commons.
Today, Angelina Jolie penned an op-ed for the New York Times frankly discussing her recent surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes. The operation carried the added weight of kickstarting early menopause despite the hormone replacements Jolie has been taking. It was the latest development in Jolie’s commitment to publicly sharing her courageous efforts to preemptively minimize her chances for cancer, ever since a blood test revealed that she carried the “faulty” BRCA1 gene, which gave Jolie “an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.” The humanitarian, filmmaker, and mother of six has been incredibly forthright in disclosing the details of her difficult journey with the world, including the decision to undergo a double mastectomy two years ago. Post-procedure, Jolie reported in another NYT op-ed that her breast cancer risk had “dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent.”
As cancer had unfortunately claimed Jolie’s mother, grandmother, and aunt, Jolie remained determined to take all possible steps to avoid the disease’s clutches, and in chronicling the process publicly, help “other women at risk to know about the options.” But surgery (specifically ovary and fallopian tube removal) is not always the best, or only, option, and Jolie stresses being educated and informed for other women who carry the BRCA1 mutation. This procedure was simply the right decision for Jolie.
“It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer,” Jolie wrote. “I will look for natural ways to strengthen my 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.’”
She continued: “It is not easy to make these decisions. 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.”