Just two years ago actress and activist Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy procedure to cut her risk of developing breast cancer. Jolie carries the BRCA1 gene with a "harmful mutation" -- a marker that indicates increased risk of both breast cancer and ovarian cancer. (Ovarian cancer killed Jolie's mother at age 56.)
Jolie, just 39, has now also had surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, eliminating the risk of ovarian cancer. Despite having both preventive surgeries, Jolie is not free from the risk of other cancers. Jolie's risk for breast cancer is still there, though radically reduced to just 5%. The actress also chose not to have her uterus removed during her recent surgery, leaving her with a risk of uterine cancer. Jolie chose not to remove her uterus because she says uterine cancer isn't part of her family medical history. Jolie wrote an op-ed about her decision to undergo the preventive procedures--and the thought process that led to it--in the New York Times.
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