Ovary Removal can reduce the Risk of Dying from Breast Cancer
Jolie did not have cancer but had both surgeries to reduce the risk of getting cancer. Recently, a new research supports preventive ovary removal in women with breast cancer who also carry the BRCA1 mutation. Women can greatly reduce their risk of dying from the breast cancer if they undergo ovary removal ("oophorectomy") -- and the sooner the better, the researchers said.
A link between ovary removal and lower risk of death from breast cancer in women has been found by researchers, but they can't provide any cause and effect. However, Metcalfe said, the investigators accounted for many factors, such as type of tumor and treatment plan to find the effect of the surgery.
Overall, according to the study, the risk of getting breast cancer for women who had ovary removal is 56 percent lower than women who kept their ovaries. On average, ovary removal was undergone six years after diagnosing the breast cancer, but earlier oophorectomy can reduce breast cancer death risk to large extent, the study found.
Metcalfe's team found that the protective effect of ovary removal was especially strong if women after 50 years old had the type of breast cancer known as estrogen receptor-negative. The researchers said that the women with BRCA2 who had their ovaries removed were at lower risk of dying from breast cancer compared with BRCA2 carriers who kept their ovaries, but the lowered risk was too low to be statistically considered yet.
"For most women in U.S. who have their ovaries as well as their uterus removed their risk of breast or ovarian cancer was decreased to some extent," Dr. Rebecca Sokol, acting president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said in a society news release. "As we learn more about the protective effects the ovaries may have on bone and cardiovascular health after menopause, this practice could be reconsidered."
The overall finding that women who had their ovary removed had lower risk of breast cancer death is not surprising, said Bernik, who was not involved in the study. However, the strong benefit for those with ER-negative cancers really surprised her. She said it's possible that a more significant benefit of ovary removal for BRCA2 patients should have been found.
However, it’s not suggested to remove the ovary for female because it’s such an important reproductive organ which decides the reproduction ability directly.