Angelina Jolie Pitt wrote an op-ed in today's edition of The New York Times, detailing her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.
Two years ago, Jolie Pitt had a double mastectomy in an attempt to prevent breast cancer. The removal of her ovaries is meant to avoid contracting ovarian cancer.
Jolie has a rare mutation in her BRCA1 gene which, prior to her surgeries, gave her an 87 percent chance of having breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of ovarian cancer. Jolie Pitt's mother, grandmother and aunt all died from cancer.
Thankfully, there are currently no signs of cancer in Jolie Pitt's body. However, the removal of her ovaries will force her into early menopause. She is only 39 years old.
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.
Jolie stressed surgery is not always the right course. It just happened to be the right move for her at this point in time. She also mentioned even though she has had these preventive surgeries, she still remains at risk.
It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer. I will look for natural ways to strengthen my immune system. 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.'
The lesson here is be proactive in one's health and be vigilant when it comes to monitoring your body. Jolie Pitt ended her piece with this:
It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.