Angelina Jolie has revealed she had a voluntary hysterectomy (the removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes) as a preventative measure against ovarian cancer. Two years ago she underwent a double mastectomy after discovering she had the mutated gene BRCA1, which puts her at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
Following the death of her mother from breast cancer, Angelina has taken a responsible approach to assessing her own health risks - something that is available to relatives of breast cancer sufferers - which allows her medical team to advise her on how to significantly reduce her chances of developing the disease. She was still considering whether to have the hysterectomy when a blood test revealed she may be in the early stages of ovarian cancer (further tests revealed she was not, but she went ahead with the operation).
Angelina says, '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. 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.'