Women Should Consider Removing Fallopian Tubes to Prevent Ovarian Cancer, Experts Say
The Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance issued new guidance for women to consider removing their fallopian tubes after they are done having children in order to prevent ovarian cancer — even if they are at low-risk of getting the cancer.
Removing the fallopian tube reduces the risk because more aggressive cancers often develop there rather than in the ovaries, said the non-profit focused on ovarian cancer research and advocacy.
The organization added the recommendation after new research found that earlier screening and detection for some of these more aggressive ovarian cancers did not prolong or save the lives of women who had been diagnosed with it.
"People diagnosed with ovarian cancer and their families should be freed from the burden of believing that if only they had recognized and acted on the symptoms earlier, they would have a vastly different outcome, as we know this is not the case," the O.C.R.A's latest news release said.
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The organization added that they will continue to spread the message about ovarian cancer symptoms, but wanted to especially encourage women to know their risk for ovarian cancer and get tested. According to the Centers for Disease Control, signs of ovarian cancer include bloating, pain or pressure on the pelvic area, abdominal or back pain or vaginal bleeding (if past the age of menopause).
"Ovarian cancer is a relatively rare disease, and typically, we don't message to the general population," O.C.R.A. Chief Executive Audra Moran told The New York Times. "We want everyone with ovaries to know their risk level and know the actions they can take to help prevent ovarian cancer."
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The O.C.R.A. is also offering free at-home testing kits for women to find out if they have a genetic mutation such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 that increase the risk of ovarian and breast cancer, according to the publication.
Dr. Bill Dahut, chief scientific officer at the American Cancer Society, told the Times that the O.C.R.A.'s new recommendation makes sense.
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"There is a lot of good data behind what they're suggesting, showing that for folks who had that surgery, the incidence rates of ovarian cancer are less."
"If you look at the biology, maybe we should be calling it fallopian tube cancer and think of it differently, because that's where it starts," he added.