Angelina Jolie had been planning to have her ovaries removed for two years.
The 39-year-old actress underwent a double mastectomy in 2013 after discovering she carries the mutated BRCA1 gene, meaning she had an 87 per cent chance of contracting breast cancer and a 50 per cent chance of ovarian cancer. She and Dr. Kristin Funk — the oncologist who performed her mastectomy, but not the laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy she had last week — agreed to wait until the ”appropriate time” before she underwent the second preventative procedure.
It was agreed Angelina would have both ovaries and her fallopian tubes removed last week after recent tests revealed markers she could be in the early stages of the disease. Her mother, grandmother and aunt have all died of cancer.
Dr. Funk, from the Pink Lotus Breast Centre in California, told Entertainment Tonight: ”We had strategized about a way to manage the ovaries with surveillance until she felt it was appropriate in her life to remove them.”
Dr. Funk believes Angelina’s openness will encourage other celebrities to be open about genetic risk and cancer prevention.
Following Kelly Osbourne’s revelation that she also carried the BRCA1 gene, Dr. Funk said: ”I think more celebrities and well-known women might find the coming out less daunting not that she has taken away the initial shock and stigma with this revelation. I think you’ll find more celebrities coming out about it. Hopefully they’ll be motivated to take away the stigma, fear and lack of education.”
The brunette beauty — who is currently going through menopause — shared her decision to undergo the surgery in an article in the New York Times titled, Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery and revealed she was feeling ”feminine and grounded” following the invasive operation.
She said: ”A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave me an estimated 87 per cent risk of breast cancer and a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer. 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.”
Angelina decided to undergo the procedure for the sake of her children: Maddox, 13, Pax, 11, Zahara, 10, Shiloh, 8, and six-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.
She wrote: ”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. 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.”