Angelina Jolie made waves two years ago when she underwent a double mastectomy after testing positive for a mutation of the BRCA1 gene, which makes her more susceptible to developing breast cancer (an 87% chance) and ovarian cancer (a 50% chance).
Jolie, who lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer, wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in which she reveals that she recently had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed after a test revealed that she could be in the early stages of cancer. Though she chose to undergo the procedure, Jolie stresses that removing so much of her reproductive system isn’t necessarily a choice that other women in her position should make. “I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this. A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery,” she wrote. “I have spoken to many doctors, surgeons and naturopaths. There are other options. 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.” The procedure puts Jolie into forced menopause, which she says she’s managing right now.
“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.”