Our Pledge To You


What Angelina Jolie’s decision means to you

PHOTO: Angelina Jolie meeting Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqi citizens in Iraq earlier this year.  | Andrew McConnell/UNHCR via Getty Images

Once again Angelina Jolie has made a very public announcement about her very personal struggle to stave off cancer.

In today’s New York Times, the actress/director and humanitarian writes about her next preventative surgery, the removal of her fallopian tubes and ovaries. It will put her body into menopause, and she will not bear any more children.

In 2013, she told the world via the New York Times about the double mastectomy she had and explained why. She has the BRCA1 gene, which upped her chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Also, her mother, grandmother and an aunt had all died of cancer. At the time of that surgery, she wrote how doctors put her chance of developing breast cancer at 87 percent. She also said she had a 50 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer.

In today’s piece, the 39-year-old Jolie explains that while she always intended to have this surgery as well, troubling results from an annual blood test made her decide to do this next surgery sooner rather than later. Always part of her decision rests in her desire to be here for her six children and someday, grandchildren.

Knowing the impact her first surgery decision had on others — the number of women seeking genetic breast cancer tests doubled, according to the journal Breast Cancer Research — Jolie stresses in this piece that surgery isn’t the only option.

“I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this,” she writes. “A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery.”

Pay attention to that statement. She made her decision based on the very personal factors in her own life. There are other options that may work just as well for others.

Basically she’s telling women not to sign themselves up for surgery  just because that is the path she feels she must take. Do your own research and talk to your physicians to figure out what’s best for YOU.

Good advice.