Angelina Jolie has had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed after tests indicated possible signs of cancer, the Hollywood actress announced Tuesday — two years after she underwent a double mastectomy.
In a brief but candid op-ed for the New York Times, Jolie described learning that tests had showed early indications of possible ovarian cancer — an illness that killed her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, at the age of 49.
"The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters," the 39-year-old wrote.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
Jolie said that the preventative laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy she underwent last week means she is now in menopause and can no longer have any more children.
"I expect some physical changes," the Oscar winner and U.N. envoy wrote. "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."
She said she feels "grounded" in her decision because while "it is not possible to remove all risk" her children "will never have to say, 'Mom died of ovarian cancer.'"
Jolie also stressed that there are alternatives to surgery for other women in the same situation.
"There is more than one way to deal with any health issue. The most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally," she wrote. "It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. ... Knowledge is power."
— Alastair Jamieson