Photo Credit: Splash
In a New York Times op-ed today, Angelina Jolie is encouraging women to take control of their health. It has been two years since Angelina Jolie announced she was having an elective double mastectomy due to carrying a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, which is linked to an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
Today Jolie announced her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in a preventative surgery after early signs of the disease. The actress lost her mother, her grandmother and aunt to cancer.
Doctors across the country have agreed Jolie did the right thing.
Jolie is tested for CA125, a marker for ovarian cancer, every year because of her family history. Although this year's screening was normal, Jolie says she went through additional PET scans and ultrasounds and found that she had some symptoms that could be possible signs of early cancer. Despite the certainty of early menopause and no more children upon her, Jolie opted for removal of the female organs.
Jolie wrote, "I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. 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."
It’s important for women to:
• Learn your risk
• Improve your quality of life
• Screen annually
• Treat aggressively if you test positive
According to Jolie, "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."