(Next Media Online)- Angelina Jolie announced in a New York Times opinion piece that she had her fallopian tubes and ovaries removed last week to prevent ovarian cancer, two years after undergoing a double mastectomy after learning she had inherited a high risk of breast cancer.
Blood test results revealed that Jolie carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. According to Jolie, the BRCA mutation gave her an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
Jolie, 39, underwent a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy to remove her fallopian tubes and ovaries. During this process, a tube is inserted into the abdomen via incisions, and CO2 is pumped in to widen the abdominal cavity. Surgeons insert a laparoscope with a camera attached into the abdomen, which allows doctors to see internal organs. Surgeons then remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes with surgical tools.
BRCA gene mutations are contained in chromosomes 13 and 17. The mutations may be inherited from either parent. There’s a 50 percent chance that parents will pass their BRCA mutation to a child because each parent contributes a chromosome to the child during reproduction.
About 5 to 10 percent of all cancers are related to an inherited gene abnormality. Among the hereditary factors that can lead to cancer, BRCA mutations may be associated with cancer 90 percent of the time.
Jolie has emphasized that her decision was not based solely on the fact that she carries the mutation, but was also because three women in her family have died from cancer. Jolie’s mother died from ovarian cancer at the age of 65.
SOURCES: USA Today, University of Michigan, Reuters