Removing ovaries may significantly cut the risk of certain cancers, according to a new study.
Women genetically susceptible to a common form of cancer now have the option of removing their ovaries as an effective preventative.
New research suggests that women who have inherited one of two faulty BRCA genes — the genes notorious for causing the development of ovarian and breast cancer — may be able to remove healthy ovaries as a means of preventing cancer. The research suggests that the ovary removal can be done as young as age 35 in order to yield maximum effectiveness.
Women who inherit either BRCA1 or BRCA2 are at a greater risk for developing breast and ovarian cancers than women who do not carry the harmful genes. The study, which was conducted Monday, is the largest of its kind to show the positive effects of preventive ovarian surgery in women who carry the BRCA genes.
The surgery not only reduces the risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer, but also estimated that it can reduce an overall risk of death before the age of 70 by 77 percent.
While researchers say that more studies will need to be conducted in order to verify the findings made in this University of Toronto study, Dr. Steven Narod, one of the doctors who conducted the survey, has commented that ovarian surgery is critical in cancer prevention.
With more and more women waiting to have children into their late thirties, ovary removal may not be something that they’re ready for. However, researchers and doctors urge that women who carry the harmful genes do not wait past age 40 to undergo surgery.
The study also found that for women who have also suffered from breast cancer, ovary removal can increase survival by helping to prevent further cancer development.
For women who carry the harmful BRCA genes, ovary removal poses several benefits, but is something that should be discussed with a doctor and determined on a case by case basis.