Angelina Jolie Pitt: Her Public Decisions & Why She Shared
The media has been abuzz with Angelina Jolie Pitt’s latest article in the New York Times, Angelina Jolie Pitt: Diary of a Surgery, published March 24th, 2015. But this story goes back to May 14th, 2013, when the same source published My Medical Choice, also by Angelina. We explore her announcements, and how they can help women who are experiencing the same endeavors. The well-known actress and special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has been extremely public about the two decisions chronicled in her New York Times articles: first to have a double mastectomy, and then to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed.
Angelina Jolie Pitt’s mother died at the age of 56, after battling cancer for nearly a decade. Her family history indicates that she too will face cancer at a young age, as indicated by the presence of the BRCA1 gene. The “faulty” gene indicated to doctors that the actress and activist had an 87% chance of breast cancer, and a 50% chance of ovarian cancer at the time. Jolie Pitt’s mother only lived to meet her first grandchild, and after telling her children that she wouldn’t face the same illness as “Mommy’s mommy”, Jolie Pitt decided to have a double mastectomy. She finished the lengthy process on April 27th, after three months of multiple procedures. She wrote the May 14th article to inform other women of her story, and make sure they too knew their options.
On March 24th, 2015, Jolie Pitt’s second article went to print, this time about her decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed. Once again, Angelina made the decision based on tests, research, and the consideration of all options and outcomes.
After routine tests, her doctor told her that her risk of ovarian cancer had now increased from 50% to 75%.
She visited the surgeon that had treated her mother, and after much exploration and research, made the decision to have a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. This procedure is easier than a mastectomy, but the results more sever. The surgeons found one small benign tumor, but no signs of cancer. Angelina now has a patch of bio-identical estrogen, and a progesterone IUD. Both not only balance the hormones, but also reduce her chance of uterine cancer.
Throughout both articles, Angelina Jolie Pitt stresses that this is not an attempt to dictate to women how to handle their medical choices. She is simply telling women the most important advice when it comes to medical risks: do your research, look at all of your options, and choose what is best for you.
After realizing her risk of ovarian cancer had increased to 75%, she called her husband Brad Pitt in France, and he was on a plane almost immediately.
After much suffering, the actress and activist still finds a way to be positive, and tells us: “The most beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity”.