The last time Angelina Jolie Pitt wrote a heartfelt piece for the New York Times, she revealed her medical choice to undergo a double mastectomy. Now, the 39 year old mother of six has made another brave and significant choice to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to decrease her risk of getting cancer.
In “Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery” – an open-ed letter to the New York Times and following the laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and receiving the all-clear from cancer…
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. I passed those five days in a haze, attending my children’s soccer game, and working to stay calm and focused.
The day of the results came. The PET/CT scan looked clear, and the tumor test was 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.
Taking another public stand with her second surgery, Angelina wrote of her desire to help other women who are at risk understand all of their options. She said;
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. 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.
Angelina will take hormone replacement and is now entering menopause as a result of having this potentially life-saving surgery. Despite this ordeal she says “I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. l know my children will never have to say, ‘Mom died of ovarian cancer’.”
What do you think of Angelina’s choice to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes? Tell us if you’ve been through a similar situation, know someone who has, or have thoughts you would like to share in the comments below…