New Two-Stage Surgical Approach for Women at Risk of Ovarian Cancer

A two-stage surgical approach for cancer prevention is highly acceptable among postmenopausal women at high risk of ovarian cancer, according to a study published British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Researchers assessed the acceptability of the proposed alternative two-step surgical protocol among 638 participants at increased risk of ovarian cancer; of which 346 had undergone standard risk reducing surgery, and 337 had not.

Among participants who had undergone preventive surgery, researchers observed 9.4% of premenopausal and 1.2% of postmenopausal women regretted their decision. The results showed among premenopausal women who had not undergone standard surgery, 69% found it acceptable to participate in a research study offering the proposed new surgical option. Furthermore, the study showed 38% of women who had undergone standard surgery would have potentially opted for the new two-step operation. The researchers noted the two-step surgical protocol was particularly acceptable to women concerned about the sexual dysfunction side effects of ovary removal.

Lead researcher Professor Ranjit Manchanda from Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust said via a press release: “Undergoing an operation to prevent ovarian cancer can be a complex decision making process. Although removal of tubes and ovaries prevents ovarian cancer, it can lead to early surgical menopause which has significant detrimental consequences on long-term health. A number of women opt to delay or decline preventive surgery as a result.

“The new two-step operation offers additional options for women (who may have not undergone surgical prevention) to reduce their ovarian cancer risk while avoiding the negative impact of early menopause. Our study shows a large proportion of eligible women wish to consider this.”