Angelina Jolie revealed that she elected to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as a preventative measure against cancer.
The actress shared the information in an op-ed published in The New York Times on Tuesday, in which she explained her decision to undergo surgery preemptively.
“A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene,” Jolie wrote. “It gave me an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.”
In 2013, the Oscar-winning actress underwent a preventive double mastectomy, which she wrote about in a previous op-ed for The Times. This surgery, however, had more serious consequences, according to the 39-year-old star.
“I had been planning this for some time,” Jolie wrote of her ovarian excision. “It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe. It puts a woman into forced menopause.”
According to Jolie, she had been planning to wait to have the surgery, but tests came back showing that she was at a higher risk for ovarian cancer than she previously believed, necessitating the operation even earlier than she had been anticipating.
“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,” Jolie continued. “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 added that she isn’t advocating that all women follow on the path she’s decided to take, but rather that all women should take care of their health and their well-being.
“I have spoken to many doctors, surgeons and naturopaths. There are other options,” Jolie explained. “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.”