Actress, director and UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie made headlines in 2013 when she announced that she’d had a preventive double mastectomy, following the discovery that she carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene.
In her case, doctors estimated that she had a 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer.
After watching her mother, grandmother and maternal aunt die of the disease, and after consulting with physicians, Jolie decided that she was unwilling to live with that risk.
Today, she announced that she took the next step, undergoing surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes.
She made that decision in consultation with her physicians after regularly scheduled screening tests showed elevated risk of ovarian cancer.
In her second op-ed in the New York Times, Jolie said that it’s not easy to make these decisions, but it is possible to take control and tackle health issues head on. She adds that it’s key to get advice and learn about one’s options. Jolie concludes that knowledge is power.
Dr. Jamie Bakkum-Gamez is a gynecologic oncologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and she joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the risk and benefits of preventive cancer surgeries, as well as the symptoms of difficult to diagnose cancers like ovarian.
- Dr. Jamie Bakkum-Gamez, gynecologic oncologist at Mayo Clinic.