Today Angelina Jolie’s article “Diary of a Surgery” was published in The New York Times detailing her decision with removing her ovaries and fallopian tubes. The actress who previously had a double mastectomy in 2013 to reduce her risk of breast cancer previously lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to ovarian cancer.
After getting a call from her doctor two weeks ago with the results of a blood test, Jolie was informed that she had a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer over her lifetime. “I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt,” Jolie described in her article. “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.”
A test would determine whether or not Jolie would need to follow through with the operation. “Nothing in the examination or ultrasound was concerning. I was relieved that if it was cancer, it was most likely in the early stages. If it was somewhere else in my body, I would know in five days,” she wrote. “I passed those five days in a haze, attending my children’s soccer game, and working to stay calm and focused.”
Luckily for Jolie her tests came back negative. “I was full of happiness, although the radioactive tracer meant I couldn’t hug my children. There was still a chance of early stage cancer, but that was minor compared with a full-blown tumor. To my relief, I still had the option of removing my ovaries and fallopian tubes and I chose to do it.”
Now, post surgery, Jolie is technically in menopause. However, she is not fearful of this hormonal change. “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 concluded her article by encouraging women to get tested regularly by doctors and to stay informed. “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.”
To read her full article check out her article for The New York Times here.