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Preventive Oophorectomy May Cut Risk of Some Cancers

Oophorectomy in high-risk women may reduce risk of ovarian, fallopian tube cancers; hike risk of peritoneal cancer

WEDNESDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- Women with a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene who undergo preventive bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy can reduce their risk of ovarian and fallopian tube cancer, according to a paper in the July 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. However, they do have a residual risk of developing peritoneal cancer following the preventive surgery.

Researchers led by Steven A. Narod, M.D., of the Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Center in Ontario, Canada, compared cancer rates among 1,828 women with mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Of these, 555 underwent preventive oophorectomy before entering the study, 490 underwent the procedure after entering the study and 783 women had no surgery.

During a mean follow-up of 3.5 years, 50 new ovarian, fallopian tube and peritoneal cancer cases were diagnosed. There were 32 incident cancers diagnosed among women with intact ovaries. Eleven cancer cases were diagnosed at the time of surgery and seven were found following surgery.

The magnitude of risk reduction is approximately 80 percent and there is a 4.3 percent residual risk of peritoneal cancer among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers 20 years after oophorectomy, the authors conclude, adding that the latter risk "is not sufficiently high to recommend against the procedure."

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