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Ovary removal linked with Early Death in Younger Women

eful and protective at younger ages, but it may become less important after menopause and then may have no effect or may be disadvantageous if given as treatment in later years."

Women, who had undergone unilateral or bilateral ovariectomy between 1950 and 1987, were observed by the investigators, while living in Olmsted County, Minn., home of Mayo Clinic. All of them underwent the surgery before menopause and for reasons other than cancer.

1,293 cases of unilateral ovariectomy, 1097 cases of bilateral ovariectomy and 2,390 women without ovariectomy were examined till their deaths or until the end of the study. This was done with interviews with the women or a relative, medical records and death certificates.

"A unique strength of this study was a 25- to 30-year median follow-up time. A total of 1,292 women died during the follow-up; 33 of them died after undergoing bilateral ovariectomy for cancer prevention before age 45. Only a long-term study such as this can reveal these changes in death rates, " says Dr. Rocca.

1.2 million ovariectomies are performed every year in the U.S. Nearly 20,000 new cases of ovarian cancer will occur in 2006 and about 15,000 women will die from the disease this year, according to the American Cancer Society. The other study authors are Brandon Grossardt; Mariza de Andrade, Ph.D.; George Malkasian, MD; and Joseph Melton III, MD.
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