Angelina Jolie is recovering after having her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed on the advice of a doctor who detected a possible early sign of cancer.
The Tomb Raider star underwent a double mastectomy in 2013 after discovering she was at high risk of developing cancer, which runs in her family, and on Tuesday (24Mar15), the actress announced she has undergone a further operation and is now unable to have any more children naturally.
Jolie opted to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed after her doctor detected a potential early marker of cancer during a routine test earlier this month (Mar15).
In an article for The New York Times online, she writes, "I went through what I imagine thousands of other women have felt. I told myself to stay calm, to be strong, and that I had no reason to think I wouldn't live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren."
She recalls phoning her husband Brad Pitt, who "was on a plane within hours" from France to help her make a decision, and she underwent the surgery last week (ends22Mar15).
During the procedure, a small benign tumor was discovered on one of her ovaries and the 39 year old is now going through the menopause.
She writes, "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. I feel feminine, and grounded in the choices I am making for myself and my family. I know my children will never have to say, 'Mom died of ovarian cancer'.
"Regardless of the hormone replacements I'm taking, I am now in menopause. I will not be able to have any more children, and I expect some physical changes. But I feel at ease with whatever will come, not because I am strong but because this is a part of life. It is nothing to be feared.
"I feel deeply for women for whom this moment comes very early in life, before they have had their children. Their situation is far harder than mine... It is not easy to make these decisions. But it is possible to take control and tackle head-on any health issue. You can seek advice, learn about the options and make choices that are right for you. Knowledge is power."
Jolie and Pitt have six children together - three adopted kids and three biological.