“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.’”


Two years after writing about her preventative double mastectomy, Angelina Jolie has just published an essay in the New York Times about her next surgery: the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes. Jolie’s mother, grandmother, and aunt all passed away from cancer—so it stands to reason that she’s doing everything she can to prevent her own body from developing the disease that took so many women in her family.

The UN Ambassador, 39, said she made the choice because she carries the BRAC1 gene. This means she has a 50 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer – the same disease that killed her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, in 2007 at the age of 56.

“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,” she wrote in a piece for the New York Times.


“It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe. It puts a woman into forced menopause. So I was readying myself physically and emotionally, discussing options with doctors, researching alternative medicine, and mapping my hormones for estrogen or progesterone replacement. But I felt I still had months to make the date.”

“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. That same day I went to see the surgeon, who had treated my mother. I last saw her the day my mother passed away, and she teared up when she saw me: ‘You look just like her.’ I broke down. But we smiled at each other and agreed we were there to deal with any problem, so ‘let’s get on with it.’”


“Knowledge is power,” she concludes, solidifying the fact that Jolie’s strength and bravery serves not just herself and her own family, but women everywhere, and hopefully her continued discussion of BRCA1 testing, she can highlight the need for it to become more accessible for all women. She affirms her power in her decision, writing, “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.” By writing frankly about her preventative surgeries, she’s helping other patients become more aware of their options. Read the full piece at the NYT; it is important for all women.

Read the rest of Jolie’s Diary of Surgery via New York Times 

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