What is the Best Treatment Approach for Ovarian Cancer?

Hysterectomies can reduce the risk for ovarian cancer but it can lead to surgical menopause.

An aggressive surgical procedure could be the best preventative measure against developing ovarian cancer, however, a new study reports that few women choose this option.

Although hysterectomies have been used to treat benign conditions and reduce the risk for ovarian cancer, it can lead to surgical menopause, which affects cardiovascular, bone, cognitive, and sexual health.

Where Does Ovarian Cancer Develop?

Recent evidence has shown that cancer could begin in the fallopian tubes rather than the ovaries.

In 2015, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement that the better option for ovarian cancer prevention in low risk women would be a bilateral salpingectomy with ovarian conservation. This procedure involves the surgical removal of both fallopian tubes while leaving the ovaries, as opposed to a hysterectomy that takes both.

The study was published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal and used data from the 2012 National Inpatient Sample. Researchers looked at 20,635 women who had undergone a hysterectomy for benign conditions and who had a low risk for ovarian cancer or future surgeries.

The Best Treatment Approach for Ovarian Cancer

"We found that among women undergoing inpatient hysterectomies in 2012 who were at low risk for ovarian cancer, very few of them received bilateral salpingectomy with preservation of the ovaries," said lead study author Xiao Xu. "The rate of bilateral salpingectomy with ovarian conservation was 5.9% in this population. This study provides important baseline information on national practice patterns prior to the ACOG recommendation."

The rate for a bilateral salpingectomy with ovarian conservation varied among the 744 hospitals throughout the country and ranged from 0% to 72.2%.

"The wide variation in hospital practice may result in differential access to prophylactic procedures depending on where patient’s access care," Xu said. "This can have longer-term health implications given the benefits of ovarian conservation."