Increase your chance of surviving breast cancer with an oophorectomy
Kelly Metcalfe, a professor of medicine and nursing at the Women’s College Research Institute of the University of Toronto, led the study.
Researchers reported that if you’re a woman with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, you can increase your chance of surviving breast cancer
by having an oophorectomy
If you’re a BRCA carrier, your risk of breast and ovarian cancer
sharply increases. Your doctor then usually suggests preventative mastectomy or oophorectomy.
Metcalfe says that her new study points out that having these surgeries as soon as possible is vital.
What does ovary removal have to do with a lower breast cancer death rate?
JAMA Oncology published the study online earlier this month. While researchers found a link between ovary removal in women with BRCA and lower risk of breast cancer
death, they weren’t able to prove cause and effect.
The study entailed following 676 women who had early stage breast cancers and were carriers of BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations. The report stated that all women had undergone some sort of breast cancer treatment
, such as mastectomy or lumpectomy (breast tumour
removal). Roughly half had their ovaries removed.
Overall, 77% of women survived over the 20-year follow-up from time of diagnosis, the findings showed.
Women who had their ovaries removed had a 56% reduction in breast cancer death compared to those who kept them. When researchers looked at only those with BRCA1 mutations, those who had their ovaries removed had a 62% lower risk of breast cancer death than BRCA1 who didn’t.
The women with BRCA2 who had their ovaries removed had a lower risk of breast cancer death than carriers who kept them. However, the lowered risk wasn’t great enough for Metcalfe to consider it statistically significant.
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How early you should remove your ovaries
On average, women in the study who had their ovaries removed had it done six years after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Despite this, earlier oophorectomy conferred a greater reduction in breast cancer death risk, the study found.
Metcalfe says that having your ovaries removed within one year from diagnosis will be most effective.
There are, however, complications involved in having your ovaries removed
Having an oophorectomy is no easy decision, Metcalfe points out.
Like any surgery, it carries risk. Having your ovaries removed before menopause also causes early menopause.
Some women may also choose to keep their ovaries until they finish childbearing.
And there you have it. So, if you’re a carrier of a BRCA gene, you might want to strongly consider having your ovaries removed. For professional advice, chat to your doctor. The sooner you do so, the more significantly you’ll lower your risk of dying from breast cancer.