ABOVE: Aarti Pole explains why Angelina Jolie underwent preventative surgery.
TORONTO — Angelina Jolie revealed Tuesday she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed last week after doctors found early signs of cancer.
As a result of the surgery, the 39-year-old will not be able to have any more children.
“The … doctors I met agreed that surgery to remove my tubes and ovaries was the best option,” Jolie wrote in an op-ed published in the New York Times, “because on top of the BRCA gene, three women in my family have died from cancer.”
Jolie’s mother Marcheline Bertrand was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 49. She died at 56. Jolie also lost a grandmother and aunt to cancer.
“Last week, I had the procedure: a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy,” Jolie explained. “There was a small benign tumor on one ovary, but no signs of cancer in any of the tissues.”
Jolie explained her doctor had alerted her to “a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated” after an annual blood test to measure the amount of the protein CA-125.
“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,” she wrote.
Jolie and husband Brad Pitt had daughter Shiloh in 2006 and twins Knox and Vivienne in 2008. The couple also adopted children Maddox, Zahara and Pax.
Jolie acknowledged her medical decision may not be the right one for others in her situation.
“There are other options,” she said. “The most important thing is to learn about the options and choose what is right for you personally.”
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The actress and director said she is comfortable with her new reality.
“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 wrote.
“I feel deeply for women for whom this moment comes very early in life, before they have had their children. Their situation is far harder than mine.”
Two years ago, Jolie went public with her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy after a blood test revealed she had 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,” she explained.