Angelina Jolie's doctor has commended the actress for speaking out about her double mastectomy.

The 37-year-old star took the decision to have both of her breasts removed after she was found to have the BRCA1 cancer gene, giving her an 87 per cent chance of developing breast cancer and 50 per cent risk of ovarian cancer and Dr. Kristi Funk says Angelina's public revelation has helped educate people about cancer.

She told Los Angeles magazine: ''When someone who is arguably the most beautiful woman in the world removes the part of her body that is symbolic of femininity and sexuality, you have to say, 'Why would she do that?'

''[Angelina] waited to find the perfect timing in her personal and professional life, but I think most importantly in her soul [to tell people about her surgery]. She is intensely private, but she calculated the moment when she would be ready to reveal something so personal.''

Dr. Funk also revealed she wasn't surprised Angelina went public with the details of her ordeal, because her philanthropic nature meant she would want to help other people.

She added: ''She knew always that in her philanthropic core she couldn't keep this a secret and be who she is. She always knew.''