It is a well-known fact that Angelina Jolie had a preventative double mastectomy in 2013. She made this proactive decision following the loss of her mother due to ovarian cancer in 2007 and being diagnosed with the gene mutation BRCA1.
Angelina revealed all in detail in the New York Times Op-ed in her article “My Medical Choice” that she wrote in May 2013.
According to genetic tests her doctors estimated that she had an 87% breast cancer risk – and after the double mastectomy surgery her chances of breast cancer were reduced to less than 5%.
How to: Do the breast self-exam
The faulty gene
Angelina carries a faulty gene BRCA1that puts people who have it at risk not only for breast cancer but ovarian cancer as well. Ovarian cancer is a malignant disease affecting the ovaries (egg-producing organs) of women.
Read: Gene study adding to research of breast cancer risk for BRCA1 carriers
In her Op-ed she stated that she started with the removal of her breasts, as her risk of breast cancer was higher than her risk of ovarian cancer and that the surgery is more complex.
In a March 2014 interview with Entertainment Weekly, she spoke of her role in the new Disney movie Maleficent, and also revealed that she has another surgery waiting.
She told the magazine:
"There’s still another surgery to have, which I haven’t yet .... I’ll, you know, I’ll get advice from all these wonderful people who I’ve been talking to, to get through that next stage."
Although details of the operation have not been revealed at the time of writing, it could signify that she may have her ovaries removed in a routine operation as women with the breast cancer gene have a high risk of developing ovarian cancer.
The ovary-removal procedure will help ward off ovarian cancer by eliminating her current 50% risk. According to Dr Noah Kauff of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, removing the ovaries may lower a woman's main cancer risk. However, there is still a risk for uterine cancer.
Uterine cancer, also called endometrial cancer, is most common between the ages of 55 and 70. Fortunately there are various treatments available, such as surgery, radiotherapy, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy – used alone or in combination.
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Sources: Health24/The New york Times/Entertainment Weekly