After mastectomy, Angelina Jolie surgically removes ovaries to prevent cancer

Two years after she underwent a preventive double mastectomy to make sure she doesn't get breast cancer, Angelina Jolie has gotten her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed surgically. In another editorial on The New York Times, Jolie explains why she decided to undergo the surgery.

FP Staff March 24, 2015 17:10:02 IST
After mastectomy, Angelina Jolie surgically removes ovaries to prevent cancer

Two years after she underwent a preventive double mastectomy to make sure she doesn't get breast cancer, Angelina Jolie has gotten her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed surgically. In another editorial on The New York Times, Jolie explains why she decided to undergo the surgery.

"A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave me an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer," she says at the beginning of the article.

She then goes on to detail how the first alarm bell went off while doing a routine CA-125 test. She explains that the amount of protein CA-125 in the blood can signal the presence of cancer in the ovary.

After mastectomy Angelina Jolie surgically removes ovaries to prevent cancer

Angelina Jolie. AFP.

Though the doctor said her reports were normal, he added, "There are a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated, and taken together they could be a sign of early cancer.”

Jolie then enumerates how she went through a series of tests, most of which yielded normal results. And then we come to the paragraphs where she talks about deciding to go for the surgery. And strangely enough, it begins with her saying that all her tests were normal and showed no aberration.

"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."

Later in the editorial she explains, like she did in the earlier one, that her decision has mostly been driven by the fact that three members of her family — all women — died of cancer.

Jolie says that she is therefore undergoing menopause and is trying to deal with the emotional and physically challenges that women face with the process.

Read the complete  The New York Times column here. 

 

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