Angelina Jolie's preventative battle against cancer may only be just beginning.
After revealing yesterday that she underwent a double mastectomy to drastically reduce her chances of developing breast cancer, People magazine is reporting that Jolie will next pursue the removal of her ovaries with a procedure known as an oophorectomy.
The 37-year-old actress wrote in her op-ed for the NY Times that she turned to surgery after tests revealed she had an "87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer" due to an inherited (and notorious) gene mutation known as BRCA1. Jolie's mother, Marcheline Bertrand, passed away from ovarian cancer at age 56.
While the double mastectomy reduced her chances of developing breast cancer to just under 5 percent, the risk of ovarian cancer is still great. A source told People that the oophorectomy, which is less intensive, will be the next procedure she undergoes. "If a woman with a high risk of ovarian cancer had a 30 percent chance of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer at some point in her lifetime, oophorectomy could reduce her risk to 6 percent, assuming an 80 percent risk reduction," according to the Mayo Clinic.
Whatever her choices, Jolie plans on sharing her experiences on the website of the Pink Lotus Breast Center. She said her decision to go public was born out of a desire to help other women understand the options available for testing and prevention.
"For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices," she said.
Speaking with the Evening Standard, Brad Pitt praised his partner's bravery.
"Having witnessed this decision first hand, I find Angie's choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic," he said. "I thank our medical team for their care and focus. All I want is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children. This is a happy day for our family."
Related on MNN: What is the BRCA1 gene?