Beating cancer

Angelina Jolie reveals she had ovaries removed as preventive measure

The actress and director has taken preemptive action again

Angelina Jolie
Hollywood’s highest-paid actress is a guaranteed box office success both in front of (Magnificent) and behind the camera (Unbroken). But what really sets her apart are her tireless humanitarian efforts, and her candor in sharing her personal brushes with cancer, successfully raising awareness about the horrible disease.

“My children will never have to say: mom died of ovarian cancer,” the Hollywood star wrote in an Op-Ed for The New York Times, in which she revealed that she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as a preventative measure against cancer.

Jolie discovered that she carries a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which gave her highly-elevated risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer, the disease that killed her mother, grandmother and aunt. Two years earlier, she elected to have a preventive double-mastectomy. When a recent blood test revealed that she had a “number of inflammatory markers that are elevated,” a possible sign of early cancer, she also chose to have her ovaries removed, after consulting her doctors.

In her piece, she openly and courageously talks about her decision and its consequences.

“Regardless of the hormone replacements I’m taking, I am now in menopause,” she wrote. I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared.”

Jolie explained that she wrote the piece because she wants to raise awareness about cancer testing and make sure women know there are several solutions to health issues. “You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.”

Read Angelina Jolie’s “Diary of a Surgery” at The New York Times.

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