Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Superstar's surgeries blocking cancers

Angelina Jolie follows double mastectomy by removing her ovaries and fallopian tubes 

Angelina Jolie
Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie's 2013 decision to have a prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery is cited in my VitalityPress book, "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer."

The reason, she'd explained at the time in an opinion piece in The New York Times, was that she'd inherited the BRCA1 gene.

That's a mutation that placed her at high risk of developing breast cancer.

Several paragraphs in my memoir/guide to research and meds detailed her choice — and the homage she paid to her then partner, now husband, Brad Pitt, whom she described as "so loving and supportive."

I also quoted her conclusion: "So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part."

Which, in effect, is why I, Woody Weingarten, wrote "Rollercoaster" in the first place — to make sure men realize the crucial role they play — and to help them cope with the ups and downs they're likely to experience.

But now — in another op-ed piece in The New York Times in which she underscored that she wrote the first article because she "wanted other women at risk to know about the options" — Jolie has revealed that she's also had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.

The point?

To block her from contracting ovarian cancer.

She acknowledges the new operation was "less complex surgery than the mastectomy" but put her "into forced menopause."

In the new column, titled "Diary of a Surgery," she also noted that Pitt flew from France "within hours" to be by her side. "The beautiful things about such moments in life," she wrote, "is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful."

Her op-ed ended with this notion, which I wholeheartedly endorse: "It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power."

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