Angelina Jolie: I Had My Ovaries Removed

She had surgery to avoid cancer that killed her mother
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2015 4:08 AM CDT
Angelina Jolie: I Had My Ovaries Removed
Director Angelina Jolie poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film "Unbroken" in London last fall.   (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File)

Angelina Jolie has had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed and is now in menopause at the age of 39, she reveals in a New York Times op-ed. Jolie—who had a double mastectomy two years ago—says she decided on the preventive surgery because she has a mutated BRCA1 gene, which puts her at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer, and recent tests suggested there could be a chance of early cancer. Jolie says she wants other women to hear her story and stresses that a "positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery," but she decided on the move because cancer killed her mother, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 49, her grandmother, and an aunt.

Jolie says she is now in forced menopause, despite hormone replacements, and will not be able to have more children. Though still 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," she writes. "I know my children will never have to say, 'Mom died of ovarian cancer.'" She says she feels deeply for younger women faced with the same choice she has had to make, and though the decision is tough, "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." When Jolie went public after surgery in 2013, genetic testing for breast cancer doubled in the UK, the Guardian reports. (Read more Angelina Jolie stories.)

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