Writing in the New York Times actress Angelina Jolie has today confirmed that two years after having a double mastectomy to prevent the onset of breast cancer, she’s undergone surgery to have both her ovaries removed due to a second health scare.
In the article, titled Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery, she said a blood test revealed ‘a number’ of elevated inflammatory markers that could be a sign of early cancer, and was told to see a surgeon immediately. Jolie, who is married to Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, finally elected to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed after it was confirmed that she carried a gene that gave her a 50% risk of developing ovarian cancer, known as BRCA1 gene.
Speaking of the discovery she said, "I called my husband in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful."
No stranger to the horrors of the disease, Angelina lost her grandmother, aunt and mother all to cancer. Jolie wrote,"My mother's ovarian cancer was diagnosed when she was 49. I'm 39."
"It is not easy to make these decisions," she said. "But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue,” she said."I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. 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."
While the procedure Angelina underwent is slightly less complex than her previous mastectectomy, it’s effects are more severe as it forces a womans body into menopause.
"Regardless of the hormone replacements I'm taking, I am now in menopause," Jolie said."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. 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."