Western Regional Blog – BC, YK, AB, NWT and Nunavut
“The research shows a major benefit from undergoing risk-reducing surgery, particularly removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes which reduces the risk of both ovarian cancer greatly and breast cancer by about half.”
A study by Manchester scientists backs preventative surgery to improve survival for women who are at greater risk of getting ovarian cancer and suggests it appears helpful for women at risk of getting breast cancer because of genetic faults.
Women who carry, (sic) a fault in one of two high-risk genes known as BRCA1 or BRCA2, have an increased risk of dying from breast and/or ovarian cancer. Many, including high-profile celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, choose to undergo surgery to remove their healthy breasts, ovaries or both before the disease affects them. However, few studies have looked at the possible benefits of these procedures across large groups of women.
The researchers from The University of Manchester – part of Manchester Cancer Research Centre – looked at 691 women who had undergone genetic testing and were confirmed as carrying a mutation in either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene before they had developed cancer.
The study, funded by Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention, the UK’s only charity entirely dedicated to the prediction and prevention of breast cancer. The results were published recently in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.
Just over one-third of women in this study opted for preventative surgery. The researchers compared outcomes for those who chose to have risk-reducing surgery with those who did not.
Professor Gareth Evans, from The University of Manchester – part of Manchester Cancer Research Centre, said: “The research shows a major benefit from undergoing risk-reducing surgery, particularly removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes which reduces the risk of both ovarian cancer greatly and breast cancer by about half.”
The Manchester researchers found that women who had any form of risk-reducing surgery had increased survival compared to those deciding against such an operation. Life expectancy was almost normalised in those that underwent surgery but substantially reduced in those who did not.