Angelina Jolie Pitt has played the strong heroine in many of her movies. And once again in real life she has been a strong role model for women.
Pitt has a mutation of the BRCA1 gene. Because of this, her doctor told her that she had an estimated 87 percent breast cancer risk, and a 50 percent ovarian cancer risk based on her blood test results.
Her grandmother, her aunt and her mother have died from cancer.
Because of her high risk for breast cancer, Pitt had a preventative double mastectomy two years ago. It reduced her breast cancer risk from 87 percent to 5 percent, according to doctors.
She was vocal and visible back then, wanting to be an encouragement to other women. She wanted to be a catalyst for more information and more discussion about options for women faced with these types of cancers.
Since Pitt recently had preventative surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, she has written an op-ed for the New York Times on March 24, 2015.
Her decision to have the surgery had been made some time ago. After she learned that tests showed elevated inflammatory markers that could indicate early cancer, she decided that now was the time.
Pitt’s doctors had advised her to have surgery while she was still 10 years younger than her female relatives had been when they were diagnosed with cancer. Her mother had been diagnosed at 49 years of age, and died seven years after that. Pitt is 39 years old.
Her husband, Brad, flew home from France to be by her side.
"The beautiful thing about such moments in life is that there is so much clarity. You know what you live for and what matters. It is polarizing, and it is peaceful," Pitt said.
She saw the same female surgeon who had treated Pitt's mother. In March 2015, Pitt had a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. The surgery has left her in early menopause.
She uses a clear patch containing bio-identical estrogen and a progesterone IUD to improve hormone balance and to help reduce her risk for uterine cancer.
"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.