Angelina Jolie penned a New York Times op-ed Tuesday about the decision to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, taking readers through the process and effect on her life.
The movie star explained she knew she’d eventually have to take out her ovaries when she had a double mastectomy two years ago—she just didn’t know how soon. Then, she got a call from her doctor with blood test results that potentially indicated early cancer.
“I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt,” she wrote. “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.”
Ultimately, a slew of tests came back clean, but Jolie decided the time was right to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes. She underwent surgery last week, where one benign tumor was found on her ovary, but no sign of cancer. The surgery will prevent Jolie from having any more children. It also entered her into menopause.
“It is not possible to remove all risk, and the fact is I remain prone to cancer. 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.”
She also touched on woman who might have a tougher challenge than her:
“I feel deeply for women for whom this moment comes very early in life, before they have had their children. Their situation is far harder than mine. I inquired and found out that there are options for women to remove their fallopian tubes but keep their ovaries, and so retain the ability to bear children and not go into menopause. I hope they can be aware of that.”