angelina jolies decision to undergo ovary removal 5f62208bd6cc2

Angelina Jolie’s Decision to Undergo Ovary Removal

Las Vegas Plastic Surgery

By Dr. Jeffrey Roth

We previously blogged about Angelina Jolie’s choice to undergo bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and breast reconstruction.  She reported that this was secondary to her significant family history of breast cancer.  She found out that she had a mutation in the BRCA gene, which further increased her chance of having the disease.  Jolie underwent the operation and reconstruction and did well.  She also opened up a discussion about this pathway to fight cancer.

The BRCA gene is also a harbinger of ovarian disease.  About 1.4 percent of women in the general population will develop ovarian cancer sometime during their lives.  By contrast, according to the most recent estimates, 39 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and 11 to 17 percent of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop ovarian cancer by age 70 years.  Jolie also had a significant history of ovarian cancer in her family.

She decided to have her fallopian tubes and ovaries removed.  The operation is called a Salpingo-Oophorectomy. Jolie wrote about her decision in an Op-Ed article in the New York Times.  She had previously published her thoughts about her mastectomy and reconstruction in the same forum.  Most telling was her quote, I know my children will never have to say, “Mom died of ovarian cancer.”

With any patient, a Salpingo-Oophorectomy is a very personal decision that must be appropriate for the individual. This operation will put women into menopause.  If Jolie’s surgery alleviates her concern about the disease, then it is probably an appropriate decision for her.

Moreover, as we have seen, she has brought her celebrity and passion to educate and shed light on this topic. Hopefully this will increase early detection and treatment for breast and ovarian cancer, which will save lives.

Best of luck to Angelina Jolie for a speedy recovery!

Jeffrey J. Roth, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Las Vegas Plastic Surgery
(702) 450-0777


National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The New York Times Op-Ed, Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery

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