Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie recently wrote a moving New York Times article detailing her decision to undergo surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes. The decision came after a heightened risk of ovarian cancer was detected. In 2013, Jolie underwent a double mastectomy, which she also wrote about, to prevent the risk of breast cancer, and was widely praised for the decision.
The Times article details her reasoning and final decision to have the surgery. Jolie wrote, “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.’”
A bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (the removing of fallopian tubes and ovaries), is becoming a more widely accepted surgery for the prevention of cancer, though only recommended for women who have a high rate of cancer within their family or have a valid medical reason.
When the fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed, a woman begins menopause immediately. As Jolie explains, “It is a less complex surgery than the mastectomy, but its effects are more severe. It puts a woman into forced menopause. So I was readying myself physically and emotionally, discussing options with doctors, researching alternative medicine, and mapping my hormones for estrogen or progesterone replacement.”
A risk of cancer is still possible even after removal. This is known as cancer of the peritoneum, or the lining of the abdomen, though the risk is reduced drastically.
What do you think about the removal of fallopian tubes and ovaries to prevent cancer?
Do you think it’s a smart decision? Do you think it’s safe?
Angelina Jolie explains her choice to the ‘Times.’ What do you think about the procedure as a method of cancer prevention?