Angelina Jolie Details Ovarian Surgery

Hollywood actress had preventative surgery to avoid cancer risks.
2:22 | 03/24/15

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Transcript for Angelina Jolie Details Ovarian Surgery
We'll keep everybody updated. That announcement from Angelina Jolie revealing she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to prevent cancer. This is not the first time she's opened up about a major medical decision. This is a bombshell from engi Angelina Jolie. She revealed at just 39 she's removed her ovaries and fallopian tubes and she's doing it despite the serious effects that may follow. Jolie writing she underwent the procedure after a recent blood test detected markers that serve as a potential sign of early ovarian cancer. The type of cancer that killed her mother in 2007. She was just kind to everybody and yet when it came to protecting her children or doing anything in defense of her children she was very, very strong. Reporter: Her aunt and grandmother also dying from the disease. 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 would not live to see my children grow up and to meet my grandchildren. Further tests coming back negative for cancer but Jolie still deciding to have the surgery. What she calls the best option, going under the knife just last week. It is not possible to remove all risk and the fact is I remain prone to cancer, she writes. The procedure a success but forcing Jolie into early menopause. I will not be able to have any more children she writes and I expect some physical changes but I feel at ease with whatever will come. This coming nearly two years since the star stunned the world undergoing a prevent tiff double mastectomy after testing positive for a gene mutation that puts her at a higher cancer risk. That choice sparking what many call the Angelina effect an increase in the number of women who have undergone genetic testing for cancer and she reflected on the impact of her decision in an interview with George last year. I didn't expect there to be so much support and I was very moved by it. It's connected me so much to other families, other women so it's been a beautiful journey. At one point she tries to make emphasizing her surgery is not the only option for women. She wants people to know there are definitely other options and that there is power with that knowledge, robin. All right, Reena, thank you. ABC's Dr. Jennifer Ashton is here with much more. We've been talking about this all morning long, Jen. The brca1, what is it? The ovarian cancer risk that comes with this mutation is significantly. With this type of genetic mutation it can go as high as 40%. We have to remember there's screening for breast cancer. We don't have an accepted screening test for ovarian cancer so use things like ultrasound and a blood test. They're not screening methods but all we have. Talk about the surgery. This is a procedure you have performed. I've done it many, many times. Straightforward surgery done through the tiny little incision, same day procedure and done in as little as 15 minutes. The key for women to know all the talk right now centers around the fallopian tubes. There's a new thinking ovarian cancer originates in the fallopian tubes itself so those tubes have to come out and by the time of surgery about 5% to 10% of women with this type of mutation will have a hidden or a cult cancer present so it's important that surgery is done properly. And Angelina Jolie emphasized this was the right decision for her. For many people the age factor comes in. It's a huge factor and this is an individual decision. We don't have consensus about when this should be done. We hear the age of 35. We hear 40. Obviously it has to be done at the end of childbearing because it places a woman into immediate menopause. A personal decision. We keep talking about women. You emphasize it's not just women. Men can carry this too. A woman with this has a 50% chance of passing it to her children. So there are some important tips, first of all if you have owe ravarian cancer in the family, get this blood test. It will be covered if you meet criteria. Secondly, try to speak with a genetic counselor. This is genetic risk assess many and thisser a's helpful. If you could speak to a gyn cancer surgeon before your surgery that's helpful. Remember, there are options. The birth control pill also lowers the risk of ovarian cancer and 30% of women choose not to have surgery. Great suggestions you discussed with us. Thank you. Robin, thanks.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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