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Preventive oophorectomy reduces risk of death by 77 percent for women with BRCA mutation
Date:2/24/2014

TORONTO, ON, February 24, 2014 Women who carry a BRCA gene mutation and opt for a preventive oophorectomy, or ovary removal surgery, have a 77 per cent lower risk of death than those who do not, according to a new study led by Women's College Hospital's Amy Finch and Dr. Steven Narod.

Research has long shown that preventive oophorectomy reduces the risks of ovarian and breast cancers in women with a BRCA gene mutation, but the best age for women to have the surgery and its impact on mortality has not been well studied. The findings by Finch and colleagues, published today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, are the first to look at these effects among a large cohort of women over a nearly six-year followup period.

"Scientific evidence clearly shows removal of a woman's ovaries and fallopian tubes is very effective in preventing both breast and ovarian cancer in women with a BRCA mutation," said Finch, a researcher at Women's College Research Institute and the study's lead author. "But the real question has been at what age these women should have the surgery to best diminish their chance of developing cancer."

In the study, researchers evaluated the effect of a preventive oophorectomy in reducing death and the risk of ovarian, fallopian tube or peritoneal cancer in 5, 783 women with a BRCA gene mutation. They found the surgery was associated with:

  • An 80 per cent reduction in the risk of ovarian, fallopian and peritoneal cancer
  • A 77 per cent lower risk of death from all causes and
  • A 68 per cent lower risk of death from all causes in women who previously had breast cancer

"Our study supports the notion that women who carry a BRCA gene mutation will have a much lower risk of developing or dying from cancer if they have an oophorectomy at age 35," said Dr. Steven Narod, a co-author of the study and senior scientist at Women's College Research Institute. "If a woman with a BRCA1 mutatio
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Contact: Julie Saccone
julie.saccone@wchospital.ca
416-323-6400 x4054
Women's College Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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