Two years after having a double mastectomy to prevent the onset of breast cancer, Angelina Jolie has revealed that she underwent surgery last week to have her ovaries removed after tests revealed she had "a number" of elevated inflammatory markers that could be a sign of early cancer.
The 39-year-old published an opinion piece on Monday in the New York Times titled "Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary Of A Surgery," in which she thoroughly explains her decision to have the surgery despite sending her into early menopause.
"I had been planning this for some time," she wrote. " I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this. 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."
Angelina had plans to go through with the surgery at a later date, but after receiving a call from her doctor two weeks ago, the procedure became more urgent. Blood tests showed irregularities connected to the protein CA-125 that is used to monitor ovarian cancer. While further tests showed she was still cancer-free, the award-winning actress still chose to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as a preventative measure. She chose to keep her uterus because there is no history of uterine cancer in her family.
According to BBC Health Editor Michelle Roberts, "Taking these preventative steps greatly decreases her risk of cancer but 'the surgery does not completely guarantee that cancer will not develop - it is impossible to remove all of the at-risk tissue."
At the time of the news, her husband Brad Pitt was in France, prompting him to fly home within hours to support his wife who had already lost her mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer.
After having the surgery, the mother-of-six says she will not be able to have any more children. "I feel deeply for women for whom this moment comes very early in life, before they have had their children. Their situation is far harder than mine," the Unbroken director wrote. "I know my children will never have to say, 'Mom died of ovarian cancer.'"