Due to the lack of a viable screening test for ovarian cancer, medical professionals advise women who have a rather high genetic risk of developing the disease to have their ovaries and fallopian tubes removed once they no longer want kids, which is typically around 40 years old.
This recommendation was shared earlier this week by a renowned research and advocacy organization in a way that many women might not have anticipated.
As it turns out, the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance is advising all women, including those who do not have mutation risks, to have their fallopian tubes surgically removed if they are no longer having kids and are planning a gynecologic procedure anyway.
This recommendation is based on evidence that most of these cancers start in the fallopian tubes, not in the ovaries.
During such a surgery, the ovaries are left intact but the tubes connecting them to the uterus are removed.
Even later in life, the ovaries continue to produce beneficial hormones that lower the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and sexual dysfunction so it’s quite important that they are not removed as well.
Organ preservation has been linked to overall lower mortality rates.
The president and CEO of OCRA, Audra Moran, says that “Ovarian cancer is a pretty rare disease, and typically, we do not message to the general population. We want everybody with ovaries to know their risk levels and know the actions that they can take to help prevent ovarian cancer.”
In order to achieve this goal, the group has also started providing free at-home testing kits to eligible women who want to learn if they have genetic mutations like BRCA1 or BRCA2, which increase the risk of developing ovarian as well as breast cancer.
Even though the more effective treatment for carriers is to remove the ovaries as well, younger carriers of the mutations may just remove the fallopian tubes as a measure of preventing ovarian cancer and abrupt, early menopause, according to Moran.
Ovarian cancer is actually more common in women who do not have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, despite the fact that these women have a really high risk of developing the disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer kills more women than any other cancer of the female reproductive system and is the fifth most common cancer among women.
Ovarian cancer affects about 19,710 women in the US each year, and 13,000 of them pass away from it.
Due to the disease’s exceptional stealthiness, it is frequently discovered at a very advanced stage.