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Angelina Jolie Opens Up About Decision to Remove Ovaries

Angelina Jolie
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Angelina Jolie opened up about her courageous decision to undergo preventative surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times titled “Diary of a Surgery,” the Unbroken director recalls her brave and poignant choice to have the surgery after her doctor revealed the possibility that she might have early-stage cancer.

While Jolie revealed that she had planned to undergo the surgery for a long time — following her preventative double mastectomy two years ago and the fact that her mom, grandmother and aunt all died of cancer — it wasn’t until her doctor called to inform her of potentially cancerous test results that she decided to move ahead with the surgery ASAP.

“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt,” the actress wrote about waiting for the final test results. “I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren.”

“I called my husband [Brad Pitt] in France, who was on a plane within hours. The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity,” she continued. “You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful.”

While the results were mostly relieving — Jolie did not have have a tumor and her PET scan was clear — she notes that it was possible that she still could be in the early stages of cancer, and that is why she chose to undergo the preventative surgery.

“I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this. A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery,” she explained, revealing that after speaking to numerous doctors, she felt that it was the best decision for herself.

Still, “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,” Jolie explained. “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.’

“Regardless of the hormone replacements I’m taking, I am now in menopause,” she revealed. “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.

“It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue,” Jolie concluded. “You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power.”

Read Angelina Jolie’s full, inspirational piece over at the New York Times.

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