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Should You Have Your Ovaries Removed Before They Develop Cancer?

The answer to this question depends on your risk of ovarian cancer and on the level of anxiety you feel based upon this risk. Remember that very few women, less than 10% who get ovarian cancer, have inherited this disease. If you have two first-degree relatives (mother or sisters) with ovarian cancer and, therefore, may have as high as a 50% risk of developing ovarian cancer, removing your ovaries as soon as you finish having children is usually recommended. You should also consider having your children at an early age so that your ovaries can be removed before the age when your relatives developed the disease. After surgery, you may begin to take hormone replacement therapy in order to prevent menopausal symptoms and the development of osteoporosis and, perhaps, heart disease.

Women who have one first degree relative with ovarian cancer and one first degree relative with either breast, uterine, or colon cancer are considered to have about a 12% risk of developing ovarian cancer. They should also consider having their ovaries removed after completing their families. Removal of the ovaries may now be accomplished using laparoscopic techniques. This surgery, using tiny incisions and the guidance of a small telescope, has the benefits of outpatient surgery and quick recovery.

ALL WOMEN WITH A FAMILY HISTORY OF OVARIAN CANCER SHOULD STRONGLY CONSIDER TAKING BIRTH CONTROL PILLS AS A PREVENTIVE MEASURE.

 

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