You have to admire Angelina Jolie Pitt. Having gone public about her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy two years ago, the actress and director has now voiced her reasoning for having both her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed last week.
If it seems radical, it is. But then again Jolie Pitt has the BRCA1 gene, and several women in her family, including her mother and grandmother, lost their battles to cancer. She reportedly had an 87 per cent risk of breast cancer and a 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer. So you can't blame her for being proactive about her own health given her high-risk case, especially now that she is a mother in her own right.
“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt," wrote Jolie Pitt. "I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn’t live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren.”
RELATED: Why Angelina Jolie Chose a Double Masectomy
At first glance, you may sigh and dismiss Jolie Pitt's Op Ed as yet another chapter in celebrity overshare. Her body, her ovaries. But that's not Jolie Pitt's style. Not at all.
The tone of her essay is informative, not aggrandizing. She clearly wants women out there to know that prevention is an option, one of several, though of course her path may not be right for others. She even goes to the trouble to point out other choices available to those faced with similar health concerns.
While the response to her essay was overwhelmingly positive, some commenters pointed out that such elective procedures are not financially viable for everyone. There are significant price tags, and even standard mammograms in the US often come with wait lists. Jolie Pitt has a team of top doctors at her disposal, so her circumstance is decidedly privileged.
Still, surgery is radical, and speaking openly about it takes real guts, especially for celebrities who tend to do what they can to protect what little privacy they have from the public glare.
Like many, Jolie Pitt is being thrust into early menopause, and with the realization that she cannot mother any more children comes sadness. Yet far worse, she says, is the situation for women "for whom this moment comes very early in life, before they have had their children. Their situation is far harder than mine.”
"It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer," acknowledges Jolie Pitt. "I will look for natural ways to strengthen my immune system. I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, 'Mom died of ovarian cancer.'”
You tell me: What do you think of Jolie Pitt's decision to go public about her surgeries?
Image Source: WikiCommons