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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Chris Serico

Cobie Smulders' character Maria Hill has engaged in intense battles in the "Avengers" movies, but the fictional fights paled in comparison to the one the actress says she endured in real life.

Cobie Smulders
Cobie Smulders attends the Chanel Dinner during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival at Balthazar on April 20, 2015 in New York City.Getty Images file

Smulders, 33, revealed she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while acting on the third season of "How I Met Your Mother." She was 25 years old at the time.

"I had tumors on both ovaries, and the cancer had spread into my lymph nodes and surrounding tissues," she told Women's Health, which profiled the star of "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" for the magazine's May cover story.

Smulders told the magazine that she endured surgeries over a two-year span to remove the cancerous tissue.

Although she worried she never will "feel like I'm cancer-free," she's trying to view the ordeal as a "positive thing," adding, "if I can create more awareness, I'll do it."

While Smulders said that her surgeries left her with a third of an ovary, and that doctors warned her that she might not be able to conceive naturally, Smulders and husband Taran Killam announced that they were expecting their second child last October.

The full version of the Smulders cover story appears in Women's Health's print edition, whose May issue arrived on newsstands Thursday.

Follow TODAY.com writer Chris Serico on Twitter.