Angelina Jolie made headlines last May when she revealed that she had a preventative double mastectomy because she carries a genetic mutation that puts her risk of developing breast cancer. Now, the 38-year-old actress says she will have another surgery to lower her cancer risk.
In her New York Times op-ed last year, Jolie said she has the faulty BRCA1 gene that dramatically increases a woman’s risk of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. In addition, her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died from ovarian cancer at age 56. “My doctors estimated that I had an 87% risk of breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman,” Jolie wrote.
Later in the column, titled “My Medical Choice,” she said “Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimize the risk as much I could.” She said she “started with the breasts” since her breast cancer risk was higher, opting to have a double mastectomy (and, later, breast reconstruction) which lowered her risk of developing breast cancer to less than 5%.
One day after the op-ed was published, it was reported that Jolie would also have surgery to remove her ovaries. (The operation, known as an oophorectomy, can reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in women with the BRCA1 gene by 80%, according to a recent study.) In an exclusive new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jolie confirmed that she will undergo more cancer-preventing surgery, but she stopped short of naming the procedure. “There’s still another surgery to have, which I haven’t yet,” she said.
Jolie also told EW that she was touched by the reaction to her column: “The reason that I wrote it was to try to communicate and help and connect with other women and other families going through the same thing. And…I was very, very moved by all the support and kindness from so many people.”