Brad Pitt Voices His Support For Angelina Jolie

Plus, Ange Will Reportedly Undergo Ovary Removal Surgery

Yesterday Angelina Jolie shared with the world her brave and bold decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy after she tested positive for the BRCA1 gene that put her at an 87% chance at developing breast cancer. Jolie‘s revelation yesterday sent shockwaves around the world and sparked an important conversation about the BRCA1 gene and the need for testing. Angelina‘s fiancée and father of her children, Brad Pitt, released a statement in support of Angelina‘s brave decision, which you can read below. Additionally, People magazine is now reporting that Angelina has decided to take the next step and will have her ovaries removed, since she has a 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer as well. Wow. Lots of new information to take in today.

Angelina Jolie was “heroic” for undergoing a preventive double mastectomy, her fiance, Brad Pitt, said Tuesday after she wrote an op-ed piece revealing her decision and describing the mastectomy process, which began in February. “Having witnessed this decision firsthand, I find Angie’s choice, as well as so many others like her, absolutely heroic,” he told the Weekly Standard in a statement, also thanking their medical team. “All I want for is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children,” he said. “This is a happy day for our family” … Jolie praised Pitt in her Tuesday New York Times op-ed, which went public late Monday night. “I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. So to anyone who has a wife or girlfriend going through this, know that you are a very important part of the transition. Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, where I was treated, for every minute of the surgeries. We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer. And it has.”

It is very important to have the love and support of people around you when dealing with any medical situation … from something as simple as enduring the common cold to major invasive surgery. Angelina is lucky to have Brad and Brad is lucky to have Angelina. It’s plainly clear to me that this couple has been madly in love for many, many years now … and they have the beautiful family to prove it. I honestly have no doubt that Angelina would’ve been able to endure this surgery if she were a single woman but I also have no doubt that having Brad in her life has helped considerably.

In her New York Times article yesterday, Angelina also revealed that she also has a high risk of developing ovarian cancer as well … and today, People magazine is reporting that she has decided to go ahead with the surgery to have her ovaries removed as a preventative measure:

Angelina Jolie is one resilient mom. The actress, 37, has experienced no complications since undergoing a double mastectomy in February and reconstructive surgery in April. “She is doing well,” a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story. But her medical odyssey is not done. The mother of six is also planning to undergo surgery to remove her ovaries. Because of her “faulty” BRCA1 gene, she still faces a high risk of developing ovarian cancer, which her doctors estimate at 50 percent. Some doctors recommend patients undergo the surgery by age 40 or when a woman is done having children, though it may trigger early menopause.

Let me be plainly clear here … undergoing any kind of preemptive invasive surgery is very serious and the decision to do so is extremely brave. With that said, I am assuming that the decision to undergo ovary removal, especially at an age where having children is no longer an option (or is less desirous), is an easier decision to make. If true, it sounds like Angelina Jolie is not kidding around where her health is concerned. She clearly wants to live as long as possible for her children and I cannot applaud her more. Angelina‘s medical choices have sparked a conversation among women (and men) about the BRCA1 gene that I hope will save lives. Let the conversation continue … and grow!

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  1. Brenna

    I actually think that the ovary removal surgery is a pretty big deal since it will cause all kind of hormone changes and effects. I really have a new respect for her for making these tough decisions and then sharing them with the world.

    I’m also amazed that her original surgeries didn’t make it into the press. How is that even possible?

    • @Brenna — Yes, I hadn’t considered the hormone effect. You make an excellent point. I, for one, am not surprised that news of her surgeries was kept under wraps. She likely went to a well-respected hospital where the medical staff understands the concept of doctor/patient confidentiality. She only underwent the procedure a few weeks ago so, yeah, I can see how the news was kept private.

    • Lisa

      HIPAA. A medical professional cannot disclose info regarding a patient to a third party (without consent of course).

    • Emily

      @Breanna – I was amazed too this was kept secret. Obviously docs can’t disclose info on patients, but more people than her doctors are involved. There are nurses, hospital staff, even other patients who would have seen her in the hallway … Paps catching them in the parking lot …. So many ways this could have leaked. Brange keeps it on lockdown.

  2. Staci

    How lovely for her that she can afford the tests and procedures. as one of the millions of Americans without health insurance, I ca’t even afford the test. Speaking of millions, think Angie would pay for me to get tested for the gene and subsequent procedures if necessary?

  3. EAW

    I am glad to see her using her fame to bring awareness to such an important issue, with any luck it can help gear the discussion toward insurance companies funding these sorts of important genetic tests. I hope awareness leads to greater accessibility and affordability.

  4. Jennifer

    I didn’t even know you could test for the gene until yesterday when she came out. Now I’m wondering if I should be tested since none of my grandparents I either didn’t know or my 1 grandmother had some unknown disease that killed her. But I wish her luck, my mom had a hysterectomy and they left her ovaries but she needed hormones and that was hard enough on her. Angelina’s going to need hormones too after that, and it’s going to be a rough road. But it’s amazing what she’s doing, deciding on any major surgery is scary enough.

  5. Gillian

    I was in the process of writting a comment, then my computer crapped out. Sorry if it double posts!

    As I said yesterday, I have such mixed feelings about this. Opting for ovary removal surgery is a massive deal. It will dramatically change every aspect of her life. Angelina is clearly willing to do everything she can to increase her odds of living. I completely understand that she wants to see her children grow, and be apart of their lives for as long as she possibly can. She is one hell of a brave woman to go through such extreme measures to increase her chances of living a cancer free life. Especially since there is a chance she could not have cancer. I honestly do not know if I would purposely remove parts of body in the chance I could get cancer. Angelina is definitely creating a dilologue on cancer and cancer prevention. Hopefully her story will inspire others, and one day pave the way for a cure. She is definitely bringing a difficult issue to light. How far can we go, and how are far are we willing to go to prevent cancer? I know from reading the comments yesterday, most women would most certainly remove their breasts if it increased the odds. If you went to the doctor and they told you had a 50/50 chance of getting cancer in your arms, legs, eyes, stomach and so on…. Would you be willing to remove those body parts based on what ifs and odds?

    • @Gillian — “Would you be willing to remove those body parts based on what ifs and odds?”

      This is a very interesting question. If I found out that there was an 87% chance of developing cancer then I think I would remove the body part. But I say this without having the reality of the situation in my life. I tend to be a “better safe than sorry” kind of person. There are no guarantees in life but every bit of safety net seems like a good idea to me. I hope and pray that having to make this decision never comes into play in my life or the lives of people close to me.

    • Gillian

      87% is a high percentage. I get not wanting to take that chance, and wanting to play it safe rather than sorry. I completely understand wanting to live, wanting to be around for your children. I am beyond thankful that I have not had to made this incredibly difficult decision, nor have my loved ones. I think the loss of her mother has left a massive hole in her life, and she is desperately doing all she can to avoid doing the same to her children. But 50/50 odds? To me this is extreme, especially since so many aspects of life have 50/50 odds.

    • I posted a version of this earlier, but it didn’t even show up and say “pending approval” after I posted…

      The reason that she might have decided to get the ovaries removed even though there is only a 50/50 chance of cancer is that ovarian cancer is VERY hard to detect. They do not currently have a test for this type of cancer. There isn’t an equivalent to the pap smear test for ovarian cancer. Usually it is discovered only after symptoms are shown, and by then it has usually spread to other areas. You can get an ultra sound to see if there are lumps on the ovary, and if so the next step is a biopsy. Breast cancer and cervical cancer can be detected much earlier because of technology, when they are not yet big enough to be felt or seen as a bump.

      Ovarian cancer is very deadly because it is so hard to detect.

    • I keep trying to post about the 50/50 odds thing, and it isn’t even showing up. I have tried 3 times now, and this is kind of important info about the differences between the situations!

    • @Krissy — I am so sorry, I have no idea why the spam filter deleted your posts. I retrieved them and allowed them to be posted.

    • It’s ok! No worries, I know we are dealing with some sensitive words in this thread. :) Thanks trent!

    • @Trent – I just tried to post a reply to Krissy and it disappeared so it is probably in the spam folder as well. I normally would not mention it, but I think it the information is useful. :)

    • @rOXy — WTF?! I found it and posted it but … damn, the spam filer is screening out too much stuff :(

    • Gillian, I appreciate that you bring up how difficult these decisions are. These surgeries are a big deal and making a decision one way or the other is such a mental and emotional stress. It might seem like an easy choice for some, but actually putting that decision in action is very scary. Folks in this position need a lot of support from family and friends!

    • Removing your limbs is a very different story. While removal of the breasts and ovaries definitively comes with challenges, I don’t think your whole life would be changed as drastically as removal of a limb(where you’d have to relearn many basic day to day functions). I applaud Angelina Jolie for being brave enough to face this devastating decision.

    • Gillian

      Losing a limb is absolutely different from losing your ovaries. I just used those body parts as an example. To make you think about what you would be willing to lose based on a 50/50 chance of having cancer.

  6. Wow, I have tried to post this like 3 times now! I guess I will use some asterisks…

    The reason that she might have decided to get the 0varies removed even though there is only a 50/50 chance of c@ncer is that ovarian cancer is very very hard to detect. They do not currently have a test for this type of c@ncer. There isn’t an equivalent to the p@p sme@r test for ovarian cancer. Usually it is discovered only after symptoms are shown, and by then it has usually spread to other areas. You can get an ultra sound to see if there are lumps on the 0vary, and if so the next step is a biopsy. Bre@st cancer and cervical c@ncer can be detected much earlier because of technology, when they are not yet big enough to be felt or seen as a bump.

    0varian c@ncer is very deadly because it is so hard to detect.

    • @Krissy – you are correct in that ovarian cancer is a silent killer. It can be asymptomatic until it advances into a late stage, and by then, it has usually metastasized to vital organs or other areas. Prognosis at that point is usually very poor.

      There is a blood test that can detect a protein in ovarian cancer cells. It is called the CA-125 (short for cancer antigen -125). It is not a perfect test, because it can’t prescreen for disposition, and only has a 50% accuracy for stage 1. The accuracy increases to 85% for stage 2 and higher. It is something that is currently available and more and more insurance plans are beginning to cover the cost. Not sure if this will be included in the list of no cost screenings once Obama care kicks in. If not, it certainly should be.

      Here is a link for John Hopkins Ovarian Pathology page for anyone interested in learning more about it:

      http://ovariancancer.jhmi.edu/ca125qa.cfm

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