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Should I have my ovaries removed???? Should I have my ovaries removed????

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Unread 08-07-2005, 05:23 PM
Should I have my ovaries removed????

Hello All,

My surgery (TAH) is August the 17th. My mom wants me to get my ovaries taken out but my doctor wants them to stay in if they look healthy. What do I want? I honestly don't know. I am 38 years old. My mother's sister died a few years ago of ovarian cancer. She had had a hysterectomy but her ovaries were left in. Later they found out she had ovarian cancer. 2 of my mother's brothers had prostate cancer. One has recovered the other one is dying. I told this to my doctor but he said that as long as my mother or sisters didn't have ovarian cancer than I don't have a higher chance of getting it. So I just said oh and tried to move on. Well later I thought about it again and then thought hey! I'm an only child. Does this mean if my mother doesn't have it, I am not at a higher risk. If I had a sister how do I know that she wouldn't have it which would put me at a higher risk?

Even though there is a higher risk of heart disease and bone problems if I take my ovaries out. Can't I just eat right (already do) and take calcium tablets to prevent them. Seems like there is nothing you could do to prevent ovarian cancer. Right now in my life cancer scares me more than anything else because I figure I can take a pill or eat differently for other diseases to minimize my chances of getting them but not with cancer.

Please help me with some feedback. I could really use it. Thanks.
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Unread 08-07-2005, 05:35 PM
Should I have my ovaries removed????

Hi there!

Here is a good, recent discussion about prophylactic ovary removal at the time of hysterectomy, which I think could be very helpful:

A lot of Hystersisters, including me, have had to make this decision. Best of luck in making the choice that's best for you!

Many s and Best Wishes,
Unread 08-07-2005, 06:13 PM
Should I have my ovaries removed????

Well I still can't make up my mind. I guess for right now, I will put the decision in my doctor's hands and if I wake up with my ovaries, I believe I will have them removed in about 10 years.

Am I at a higher risk because of my aunt or does it have to be the immediate family?
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Unread 08-07-2005, 08:34 PM
Should I have my ovaries removed????

Originally Posted by carrion
Well I still can't make up my mind. I guess for right now, I will put the decision in my doctor's hands and if I wake up with my ovaries, I believe I will have them removed in about 10 years.

Am I at a higher risk because of my aunt or does it have to be the immediate family?
I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt. I can understand that it must be very troubling for your mother to have been there for her and now be worried about the same thing for you.

For you to be at higher risk by the way the currently calculate it, it would have to be a first degree relative, a parent, sibling or child. At the moment they only calculate that 20% of all ovarian cancers are genetically linked, the rest have no known cause. The known risk factors are being Caucasian, starting your period young (earlier than age 13), never having children or being on the pill and relatives with other abdominal cancers such as colon. There is no known link between prostate cancer and any other cancers that I know of.

There are plenty of things in your life that may reduce your risk, such as taking birth control pills, giving birth, breast feeding, tubal ligation and late menarche.

However, hysterectomy actually lowers your risk of getting ovarian cancer - your risk as a woman is basically 1 in 70. After hysterectomy it goes down to about 1 in 300 ... a very low rate.

The important thing is to look at your whole family history and talk to your doctor (not just your gyno, but your primary care and any other doctor treating you such as an orthopedist, endocrinologist, etc. to discuss how oophorectomy at such a young age will affect your pre-existing and high risk conditions).

If you have hypertension or have family members that have had trouble with it (heart attacks, strokes), then you may be at higher risk after oophorectomy even with HRT (one study stated there's a seven-fold risk for a woman who has an oophorectomy before age 35). Seven fold is in addition to the high risk that women already run for heart attacks and strokes ... it's the number one killer of women.

One of the other ladies in the other thread put it best. We're all going to die from something. But I think the goal is to have as much of the life we have left to be useful and healthy.

Talk to your doctor about screenings. There is currently no test for ovarian cancer like men have for prostate or we have for cervical, however, Australia is introducing their first later this year and there are four others in tests at the moment. By the time you're at the recommended age for prophylactic oophorectomy (45), you will have had the benefits of your natural hormones for a few more years and then you can make a decision. There is also a test which can screen you for the genetic marker for ovarian cancer - the genetic form of the disease tends to strike younger women, while the widespread one tends to hit women who have passed menopause.

By the way, whether your have an oophorectomy or not, there's no reason to not eat healthy and exercise!

Take care.
Unread 08-08-2005, 10:12 AM
Should I have my ovaries removed????

Thank you Juniper and Bizet Woman,

I think I will keep my ovaries and look at getting them taken out when I turn 45. My aunt started having heavy periods at 50. She then had a hysterectomy at around 52. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 53 and died at 54.

Thanks again ladies for your input.
Unread 08-08-2005, 02:47 PM
Should I have my ovaries removed????

My doctor allowed me to keep mine. I am 46 and they still have a lot of work left to do for me. My doctor said they are really close to having a blood test to detect Ovarian cancer, another reason he left them, as long as they were healthy. I also kept my cervix. I gave the Dr. permission to remove anything that wasn't healthy. He also took pictures of the fibroid for me to see what was causing me so much grief! Good luck with your decision...I am also an only child and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer this more reason I chose not to go on HRT.
Unread 08-08-2005, 04:47 PM
Should I have my ovaries removed????

I'm sorry to here of your losses. When I had my TVH, the dr. removed my left ovary also. They didn't want to take both due to my age (I was 29). That was almost a year ago and I've had nothing but problems with the remaining ovary. I get cysts that grow bigger each time, before rupturing. It is very painful. They are also testing me for ovarian cancer because of all of this. This ovary only works half-way when it wants to, so I have hot flashes and mood-swings anyway. The drs. won't put me on hormones because of the remaining ovary and my age. If I had a choice, I would have gotten them both removed together and avoided all of this. Maybe you can take something from my experience that will help you in deciding. Good luck.
Unread 08-09-2005, 07:15 AM
why I had my ovaries removed

Hi, I read your post and with all the daily news about leaving healthy ovaries in place I had to respond. First your risk factor seems to worry you, and it would worry me too. Second, you seem to believe you would need getting them out in a decade (which I understand is harder surgery than doing it with hysterectomy at the time) and I tend to think intuitition should be listened to even if it is not the most popular position. I believed mine would only mal function and miss their attached uterus so I had mine removed. Also I had extreme PMS for more than a decade involving two weeks a month of heckish crazed thinking and bodily problems such as headache, nausea, bloat, fatigue, barfing...I am astonished and greatly relieved that I no longer have any of these problems since I had my ovaries out. In fact I have never felt better in my previous athleticism has helped and at 44 and three months post op I am having new personal bests! I've lost quite a bit of weight without the pms driving me to eat everything in sight two weeks a month, sleep better and feel way better. I did get a HRT patch at the time of surgery and am on a somewhat high dose, (but I am a competitive level athlete and lean so allegedly need more estrogen-and feel better on a highish dose) and have had less hot flashes, night sweats and headaches than prior, although I do still have them. There seems to be a backlash against hysterectomy and the latest daily news about conserving ovaries was done by plugging old information into new statistical models, not by talking to actual women. I do worry some about the risks of having had my ovaries removed, BUT, since I am feeling so much better I can take action easier to cut my risks, such as by finding it far easier to exercise daily and eat more correctly as I'm not feeling so lousy day in and day out. Nothing is perfect. I had a diseased uterus and believed my ovaries were in part responsible for the crazy hormonal life I've had. Allegedly they were healthy, but I wasn't. Without them I am healthy for the first time in a year or so when my disease exploded. The post op report described my "healthy" ovaries as grey, corrigated, impossible to tell which side was up and compressed. I didn't want to keep running to my doctor, wanted to limit my risk for future surgery and wanted to make it safer to take HRT, which is why I had my allegedly healthy ovaries removed. Love Noom
Unread 08-09-2005, 07:46 AM
Should I have my ovaries removed????

Noooooo. I am getting confused again. I believe I'm going to go back and forth with this until the surgery is over. So some people feel better after having them removed and some feel worse. Just don't know which one it will be for me. I am not really in any pain (except for migraines due to hormonal changes) nor do I have PMS during my monthly cycles (my husband thinks differently). I'm having this surgery because of heavy bleeding with occassional down pours due to polyps.

Storm2 - did you have problems with your ovaries before the surgery? Why did they take your one ovary? Well I pray that you are negative for ovarian cancer. What tests are they performing on you for that?

Noom - Can the doctors tell if your ovaries are healthy during surgery while it is still attached or do they have to take them out first and wait for the pathology results? I don't want to go back for surgery after this but I try not to think about it and just take it one problem at a time. Also, how did you feel after surgery? and How long did it take to get the correct dosage of HRT? I am kind of scared to go on HRT because of the risk for breast cancer.

Thanks for all of the support.
Unread 08-09-2005, 07:48 AM
Should I have my ovaries removed????

You could ask 10 people and get 10 different answers.

I would suggest discussing your concerns with your doctor. Between the 2, I'm sure you'll come up with the right decision.

As for me, at first I was going to have my overies removed, but after reading several articles, unless they are unhealthy, I'm asking the doctor to keep them. She did say the final decision was up to me. I read that the overies are more than an egg producer and they help with heart disease and osteprosisis. I can always have them removed at a later date, if needed. Once they are removed, I can't change my mind.

I got information overload in the beginning. I have plenty of time to make my decision. Sometimes, I think I have way too much time.

This site is a great help.

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