Why can’t young healthy women scared of ovarian cancer just have their ovaries removed, instead of going through life “waiting for that shoe to drop,” so the saying goes?
Though ovarian cancer isn’t common at all, certainly there are young or premenopausal women who have fixated on this monstrous disease and can’t help but fear that they’re going to “get it.”
Why not just have the whole kit and caboodle removed to end this anxiety?
Let’s assume that this woman already has had the children she wants or doesn’t want kids.
Usually when ovaries are removed in a premenopausal woman, in the name of preventing ovarian cancer, it’s been determined that she carries a gene mutation for this disease.
- But what if she doesn’t?
- What if she’s just plain scared of getting this horrible disease?
A recent Mayo Clinic study, led by Walter Rocca, MD, says that the practice of removing the ovaries in young healthy women, who do not have a high risk for the cancer, should be discontinued.
And the reason is far from non-medical. Women under 46, says the study, who had elective removal of their ovaries, went on to have a significantly elevated risk of the following:
• Cardiac arrhythmia
• High blood fat
• Heart disease
• Brittle bone disease
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
“Bilateral oophorectomy [medical term for the removal] should not be considered an ethically acceptable option for prevention of ovarian cancer in the majority of women who don’t carry a high-risk genetic variant,” says Dr. Rocca in the report.
For the study, 1,643 women, who had their ovaries removed, were followed for about 14 years.
They were compared to a control group who did not have the surgery.
The higher incidence of the medical conditions was found in patients under age 46. Why did this happen?
The research team believes it was due to the premature loss of estrogen (ovaries produce this hormone). This hormonal loss then triggered a cascade of aging mechanisms leading to disease.
If you find a doctor who will remove your ovaries to quash your fear of developing ovarian cancer, even though you are of average risk for this condition—and you’re premenopausal—you’ll want to make a very strong risk-benefit assessment.