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Women At-Risk for Ovarian Cancer Should Remove Ovaries at 35

Update Date: Feb 25, 2014 11:34 AM EST

Preventive measures are as important, if not more important, than treatment plans and therapies. People who take preventive measures reduce their risk of diseases, which then lower their mortality rates. According to a new study, women who have the BRCA 1 gene mutation, which has been tied to the increased risks of breast and ovarian cancers, could benefit greatly if they underwent ovaries removal surgery, known as an oophorectomy, by the young age of 35. For women with the BRAC 2 gene mutation, surgery by the age of 40 could also reduce these risks

"We have a strong basis to recommend that women who have a BRCA1 mutation really benefit from having an oophorectomy, and they should have it by age 35," said lead researcher Dr. Steven Narod, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, in Canada reported by Philly.

For this study, the international team of researchers from North America and Europe examined medical data on 5,783 women who carried the BRCA gene mutations. The data came from an international registry. Women who have the BRCA 1 and 2 genetic mutations have a higher risk of getting and dying from ovarian cancer. In this sample, the researchers found that 2,270 participants did not have an oophorectomy, 2,123 women had the surgery at the start of the study and the remaining 1,390 women removed their ovaries during the follow-up study between 1995 and 2011.

The team calculated that women who underwent an oophorectomy reduced their risk of developing ovarian cancer by 80 percent. For women with the BRCA1 gene mutation, their risk of ovarian cancer increased to four and 14.2 percent if they delayed surgery to age 40 and age 50 respectively. The researchers reported that for women with the BRCA2 gene mutation, risk of cancer was relatively lower. The researchers reported that getting an oophorectomy reduced risk of death from any cause by 77 percent.

"To me, waiting to have oophorectomy until after 35 is too much of a chance to take," said study lead author, Steven Narod, professor of medicine at the University of Toronto in Canada according to CNN. "These data are so striking that we believe prophylactic oophorectomy by age 35 should become a universal standard for women with BRCA1 mutations."

The researchers reported that during the follow-up period, 186 female participants were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer or peritoneal cancer, which is cancer of the abdominal lining. Throughout the study, 511 women died with 333 caused by breast cancer, 68 by ovarian, fallopian tube, or peritoneal cancers and 110 from other causes.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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