Angelina Jolie revealed she underwent a preventative surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes in order to avoid the risk of ovarian cancer, the disease which she lost her mother to. After blood tests revealed possible indicators of early cancer, Jolie – whose mother, aunt, and grandmother died of cancer – stated: "Last week, I had the procedure: a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. There was a small benign tumor on one ovary, but no signs of cancer in any of the tissues."
The opinion piece in the New York Times printed on Tuesday came nearly two years after the actress and human-rights activist had a double mastectomy having discovered she carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene which gave her an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. Her announcement of that decision in a New York Times op-ed in May, 2013, was widely lauded by celebrities, cancer survivors, and medical professionals for its openness.
In Tuesday’s op-ed piece titled 'Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery', Jolie wrote: "It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe. It puts a woman into forced menopause.
"It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer. 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.'"
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 20,000 women get ovarian cancer and about 14,500 die from it every year in the United States.
Knowledge is power.