Angelina Jolie Opens Up About "Brutal" Preventative Surgeries & Continues To Knock Down Cancer Stigmas
In her cover interview for the November issue of Vogue , Angelina Jolie discussed at length the life-changing decision she made to get preventative surgeries (the removal of her ovaries and fallopian tubes) to protect herself from ovarian cancer. (This was only two years after Jolie famously revealed she had a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer, for which she was also at risk.) Her incredible strength in sharing her story should be an inspiration to everyone and no doubt will encourage people to not feel alone when with an illness or making an important health decision. "It really connected me to other women,” she told Vogue of her decision to go public. “I wish my mom had been able to make those choices."
Jolie, in fact, wrote her most recent film, By The Sea, after her mother died of cancer eight years ago at the age of 56, and, as Jolie tells Vogue, she never thought the film "would see the light of day." The movie stars herself and her husband as couple Vanessa and Roland, a pair of artists, and watches as they struggle with grief. And that act — to pour her grief into art — takes a lot of strength in itself.
Jolie went through her own, as she calls them, "brutal" surgeries during the making of By The Sea, and her schedule was grueling. She explained,
They are not easy surgeries. The ovaries are an easy surgery, but the hormone changes are interesting. We did joke that I had my Monday edit. Tuesday surgery. Wednesday go into menopause. Thursday come back to edit, a little funky with my steps.
Though it's brave enough to face the surgeries she went through, it's noble of Jolie to be so open about the feelings and experiences around her surgeries and her path to recovery. For whatever absurd reason, there is some stigma attached to cancer that makes it seem like an isolating experience. Hopefully, Jolie's transparency about her surgeries will help fans who are enduring the same.
In fact, Jolie's bravery has already paid off. A study conducted in a medical journal of the American Cancer Society shows that the star's battle with breast cancer raised awareness by 20 percent among women requesting genetic testing for the disease.
Jolie's accomplishments somehow still don't interfere with her humility, and hopefully her openness will encourage other women who either went through preventative surgeries or who are battling cancer to share their experiences, or at least feel proud and autonomous over their own bodies, not alone in the difficulties they have to face.