Angelina Jolie has ovaries removed over cancer concern

Oscar-winning film star Angelina Jolie said she has had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to avoid the risk of ovarian cancer, the disease that killed her mother at the age of 56.

The announcement in a New York Times column printed on March 24 came nearly two years after the rights campaigner and mother-of-six had a double mastectomy after hearing she had also inherited a high risk of breast cancer.

Jolie (39), said she had gone public with her decision to tell other women about the options available to them.

“I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, ‘Mom died of ovarian cancer,'” Jolie wrote.

The procedure had triggered menopause, she added. “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.”


Jolie, who also lost her aunt and grandmother to cancer, underwent the laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy last week after blood tests revealed possible indicators of early cancer.

She said doctors had told her she had a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer due to an inherited genetic mutation.

Husband Brad Pitt flew to her side from France hours after she told him about the test, she wrote. “The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarising, and it is peaceful,” she added.

Jolie, who won an Oscar as best supporting actress in the 1999 film Girl, Interrupted based her earlier decision to undergo a double mastectomy on news that she had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer.

Her announcement of that decision in a New York Times op-ed in May 2013 was widely lauded by celebrities, cancer survivors and medical professionals for its openness.

She wrote in a March 24 article titled, Diary of a Surgery, that no signs of cancer were discovered in removed tissue and that she had has a progesterone IUD inserted to help maintain hormonal balance and help prevent uterine cancer.

“It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer,” she said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 20,000 women get ovarian cancer and about 14,500 die from it every year in the United States.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Reuters
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Medical aids blame external costs as fees increase beyond inflation

Medical aid is becoming more of a luxury for many South Africans, and it’s not about to get any better

Mahikeng compounds its mess

The ailing town that wasted R2-billion appoints a municipal manager rated ‘basic’, the lowest level

More top stories

Parliament owes South Africa an apology on state capture —...

The speaker told the Zondo commission she doesn’t know why the legislature woke up to state capture so late, but believes this won’t happen again

Cape Town fire ‘largely contained’, evacuation orders remain in place

Authorities confirmed the fire had been largely contained by early Monday afternoon, although reports suggest the fire had jumped the road near Tafelberg Drive

Zondo says break-in will not intimidate commission

The deputy chief justice said it was not clear if the burglary and a recent shooting were more than criminality, but vowed no one would deter the inquiry

European heavyweights face criticism over ‘cynical’ Super League

The 12 founding clubs of the breakaway competition have faced backlash from the football community
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…