Angelina Jolie's doctor explains 2-year strategy leading to recent surgery

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Angelina Jolie Reveals She Had Her Ovaries Removed


Angelina Jolie removed her ovaries and fallopian tubes a week ago, but it was a decision that was strategized over two years ago.

Dr. Kristin Funk, a surgical oncologist at the Pink Lotus Breast Center, performed Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy in 2013 and she provided insight into the actress' latest operation, a laparoscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.

While she did not perform the most recent operation, Dr. Funk revealed that she and Jolie had conversations about how to best determine whether surgery was the right avenue to take. "We had strategized about a way to manage the ovaries with surveillance until she felt it was appropriate in her life to remove them," she tells ET.

The 39-year-old Jolie revealed her decision-making process in a candid op-ed in the New York Times published Tuesday. "A simple blood test had revealed that I carried a mutation in the BRCA1 gene. It gave me an estimated 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. I lost my mother, grandmother and aunt to cancer," she wrote.

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Angelina Jolie's doctor explains 2-year strategy leading to recent surgery
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arrive at the world premiere of "Maleficent" at the El Capitan Theatre on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
US actress and special UN envoy Angelina Jolie (L) and her husband US actor Brad Pitt attend the fourth day of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London on June 13, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the closing session of the four-day long Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which is being co-hosted by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will also appear by video link. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JUNE 21: Knox Jolie-Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Vivienne Jolie-Pitt are seen upon arrival at Haneda Airport on June 21, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/GC Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - JUNE 21: (L-R) Knox Jolie-Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt and Pax Jolie-Pitt are seen upon arrival at Haneda Airport on June 21, 2014 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/GC Images)
US actress and special UN envoy Angelina Jolie (L) and her husband US actor Brad Pitt arrive on the fourth day of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London on June 13, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry will speak at the closing session of the four-day long Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which is being co-hosted by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will also appear by video link. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
US actress and special UN envoy Angelina Jolie (L) and her husband US actor Brad Pitt attend the fourth day of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London on June 13, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke at the closing session of the four-day long Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which is being co-hosted by Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon will also appear by video link. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie (L), actor Brad Pitt (R), British Foreign Secretary William Hague (not seen) and his wife Ffion Hague (not seen) attend the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict in London, United Kingdom on June 13, 2014. The four-day conference on sexual violence in war is hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Ffion Hague, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie and Actor Brad Pitt attend the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict at ExCel on June 13, 2014 in London, England. The four-day conference on sexual violence in war is hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie and actor Brad Pitt attend the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict in London, United Kingdom on June 13, 2014. The four-day conference on sexual violence in war is hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie and actor Brad Pitt attend the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict in London, United Kingdom on June 13, 2014. The four-day conference on sexual violence in war is hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie and Actor Brad Pitt attend the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict at ExCel on June 13, 2014 in London, England. The four-day conference on sexual violence in war is hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie and actor Brad Pitt attend the Global Summit To End Sexual Violence In Conflict in London, United Kingdom on June 13, 2014. The four-day conference on sexual violence in war is hosted by Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy and actress Angelina Jolie. (Photo by Yunus Kaymaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
US actress and campaigner Angelina Jolie (R) and US actor Brad Pitt (L) talk to a delegate after a family photo at Lancaster House on the third day of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London on June 12, 2014. The conference, featuring decision-makers and victims of warzone rape, has launched a protocol of proposals on how best to document rapes in war in an attempt to vastly increase the number of prosecutions. AFP PHOTO / POOL / TOBY MELVILLE (Photo credit should read TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images)
US actress and campaigner, Angelina Jolie, listens to testimonies of victims of violence on the third day of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in east London on June 12, 2014. Brad Pitt added his A-list support to his partner Angelina Jolie's efforts to eradicate rape in warzones when he joined her in a flashbulb-popping appearance at a global conference in London. AFP PHOTO / POOL / LEFTERIS PITARAKIS (Photo credit should read LEFTERIS PITARAKIS/AFP/Getty Images)
British Foreign Secretary William Hague (L), US actress and campaigner Angelina Jolie (C) and her husband US actor Brad Pitt (R) sit together during the opening plenary session on the third day of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in east London on June 12, 2014. Brad Pitt added his A-list support to his partner Angelina Jolie's efforts to eradicate rape in warzones when he joined her in a flashbulb-popping appearance at a global conference in London. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arrive at the world premiere of "Maleficent" at the El Capitan Theatre on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
Angelina Jolie, left, and Brad Pitt arrive at the world premiere of "Maleficent" at the El Capitan Theatre on Wednesday, May 28, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)
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WATCH: Angelina Jolie Reveals She Had Her Ovaries Removed

The actress is now in menopause, and she admitted that 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."

Reactions to Jolie's news were mixed as some commented that they wanted to take measures for preventative care while others noted that they have further anxiety about their family histories.

NEWS: Angelina Jolie Undergoes Preventative Double Mastectomy

The majority of people who undergo genetic testing have insurance, but if you want a full test, it can run an individual up to $4,500.

"About 6% of the population is appropriate for genetic testing," Dr. Funk stated. "That means that they meet the criteria of red flags."

According to Dr. Funk "about 7% of breast cancer and 14% of ovarian cancer has a direct connection to these bracket gene mutations. If anything, Angelina is raising awareness to the existence of these cancers."

One celebrity has already found comfort in Jolie's story. Kelly Osbourne revealed to ET after The Talk's Tuesday taping that she too has a BRCA1 gene.

NEWS: Kelly Osbourne Reveals She Has BRCA1

"I think more celebrities and well known women might find the coming out less daunting not that she has taken away the initial shock and stigma with this revelation." Dr. Funk added. "I think you'll find more celebrities coming out about it. Hopefully they'll be motivated to take away the stigma, fear and lack of education."

Although Jolie took this preventative measure, there's still a 1-2% residual risk in the pelvis, Dr. Funk said.

Like Jolie, she also encouraged people who have a gene mutation to talk to a professional who specializes in the area to discuss their options. "If you're past child-bearing and desire no more children like Angie did, there's no reason to keep your ovaries," she explained.

After the procedure, Jolie wrote that she felt "feminine and grounded" in her choices to undergo surgery.

"Every woman undergoing these dramatic and irreversible procedures will contemplate what it means for her femininity, sexuality and sense of confidence," Dr. Funk said.

Follow Rosalyn on Twitter: @RosalynOsh

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