Jolie, 39, wrote an emotional Op-Ed piece published in Tuesday's New York Times revealing she had undergone preventative surgery to remove her ovaries and Fallopian tubes after doctors detected possible signs of cancer earlier this month.
She carries the BRCA1 gene mutation, which gives her an 87% chance of developing breast cancer and a 50% chance of ovarian cancer.
So two years ago, she underwent a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer.
Jolie writes that she had been considering her latest surgery for several months. But then two weeks ago, she received a call from her doctor with concerning blood test results. They revealed "a number of inflammatory markers that are elevated, and taken together they could be a sign of early cancer."
Jolie's surgeon performed an examination and ultrasound and found nothing concerning. But there was still a chance of early stage cancer. The actress says she still had the option of removing her ovaries and fallopian tubes, and chose to do so. After last week's surgery, she learned that she had a small benign tumor on one ovary, but no signs of cancer in the tissues.
Now, due to the effects of the procedure, Jolie is going through menopause.
"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," Jolie writes. "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."