Two years after revealing that she underwent a double mastectomy because she carries a gene mutation that increases breast and ovarian cancer risk, Angelina Jolie writes in The New York Times that she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed last week. "I am now in menopause," she says.
Jolie writes that she always planned to have the removal procedure, but she sped up the timing after a blood test revealed possible signs of early cancer. She explains:
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. ...
In my case, the Eastern and Western doctors I met agreed that surgery to remove my tubes and ovaries was the best option, because on top of the BRCA gene, three women in my family have died from cancer. My doctors indicated I should have preventive surgery about a decade before the earliest onset of cancer in my female relatives. My mother's ovarian cancer was diagnosed when she was 49. I'm 39.
Jolie continues, "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."
Ultimately, Jolie urges other women to research their options, because "knowledge is power." She is at peace with her results: "Regardless of the hormone replacements I'm taking, I am now in menopause. 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."