Two years ago actress Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy as a precaution after blood tests showed she had an 87% chance of developing cancer.
Last week, Jolie underwent surgery and had both ovaries and fallopian tubes removed after another test showed high markers, a sign of possible early cancer. Jolie’s mother, grandmother and aunt died from cancer and she carries a gene mutation that increases her chance of developing that illness.
Dr. Kerry Rodabaugh, gynecological oncologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, says this is not a rare occurrence and something they deal with frequently.
Dr. Rodabaugh says, “Surgery is not automatic. It is a personal decision on everyone’s part. I think the most important thing is women and men also, to be aware of their family history and have that discussion with their physician. Then we can develop risk reduction strategies that often do include surgeries but don’t necessarily have to.”
Dr. Rodabaugh also applauds Jolie’s decision to go public. She says, “Anytime we can raise awareness to these issues, protect women, give them the information they need to make decisions for themselves and see the courage that women have to take care of themselves and their families.”