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BRCA1 and Ovarian Cancer: Why Women Choose Preventive Surgery

Ovarian Cancer PatientFor a woman, the decision to have your ovaries and fallopian tubes removed does not come easily. But if you face an alarmingly high genetic risk of ovarian cancer, preventive surgery may be the right choice.

Angelina Jolie’s surgery in March shined a national spotlight on this issue. She previously brought attention to preventive mastectomy back in 2013. Jolie chose both procedures because her BRCA1 genetic mutation put her at high risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

Jolie may be a high-profile patient, but she’s not alone. About 1 in 400 to 1 in 800 people in the general population have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.

For women with these mutations, choosing a salpingo-oophorectomy — the surgery that removes the ovaries and fallopian tubes — is a highly personal decision. Several factors play a part. Learn more