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Is ovarian cancer connected to breast cancer? Is ovarian cancer connected to breast cancer?

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Unread 06-10-2003, 08:00 AM
Is ovarian cancer connected to breast cancer?

I finally have my hyst scheduled for the 25th, but she is leaving the ovaries up to me. My mom has had breast cancer, and it seems like the people I talk with that have had this, say that you have more of a chance for ovarian cancer if someone in your family has had breast cancer. Does anyone have a answer to this? I am leaning more towards having everything taken out, but the DR says that my ovaries are healthy, but leaving the decision up to me. I am also leaning towards her doing a TAH instead of a TVH. I'm just not comfortable with her removing some internal organ, without seeing the actual inside that she is working on.

I am 47 years old, and I had a abnormal pap about 3 months ago. I have been battling fibroid tumors for over a year, which is causing increasing bleeding. Even taking the continuous birth control pill doesn't help with the bleeding. It isn't extremely bad, but I have been bleeding every day for the last 2-3 months and it just keeps getting worse.

I know this is a very personal decision, but any personal experience would help me to know if I am thinking wrong about the ovaries and the TAH.

My pre-op visit is the 16th. Please be thinking about me. I just hope I ask all the right questions and don't get scared.
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Unread 06-10-2003, 08:32 AM
Is ovarian cancer connected to breast cancer?


There is sometimes a link between breast and ovarian cancers, yes - this is usually due to a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. Not every case of breast cancer is caused by this gene though - so having a first degree relative with br ca doesn't necessarily mean you stand a higher chance of getting either breast or ovarian cancer.

(as a comparison, my mother is a double breast cancer survivor, and her sister has also had DCIS - I'm getting ready for genetic counselling about it).

I kept both ovaries as they were healthy - even though my mother had breast cancer

The other thing to consider is - even after removal of the ovaries, this doesn't completely negate the possibility of ovarian cancer, as ovarian tissue often remains in the abdominal cavity afterwards, and this can become cancerous. All in all, I'd have another chat with your doctor, and see if s/he recommends genetic testing. There is a lot to consider in this aspect, but really it might just boil down to your own peace of mind.

Many s and warm wishes,

Unread 06-10-2003, 12:13 PM
Is ovarian cancer connected to breast cancer?

What little I know is some cancers are estrogen linked so if you don't want to take HRT you might want to keep your ovaries. Just keep in mind, breast cancer has a better chance to get detected early and at that stage is quite cure-able. Ovarian cancer is much more difficult to detect early.

I opted to remove my ovaries because I didn't want the prospect of cancer hanging over my head while I was taking HRT. I very much like my HRT.

As for TVH vs TAH, I suggest the route I went which to ask for a LAVH (lap-assisted vaginal hyst). Not only did my DR take a complete look around my abdominal cavity, but I have the pictures to prove it. The pictures are VERY clear. DR examined my liver, appendix, bowels, etc while in there. My recovery is very easy, too, since I don't have a big external incision.
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Unread 06-10-2003, 09:32 PM
Is ovarian cancer connected to breast cancer?

I am facing that same decision. I have strong family history of breast cancer in my family. I am scared of leaving my ovaries when I have my hyster because of the risk of ovarian cancer. Both my mom and grandma had their ovaries removed during their hysters so I do not know my total risk.

Any suggestions??
Unread 06-11-2003, 06:09 AM
Is ovarian cancer connected to breast cancer?


See if genetic testing is appropriate for you.

Even if your ovaries are removed, this doesn't completely negate the risk of ovarian cancer....ovarian tissue can remain in the pelvic region, and would be susceptible, just like ovaries would be.

Despite a positive family history for me, the surgical team thought it better to actually leave the ovaries in for now....having relatives (even first degree) with breast cancer sometimes isn't a "good enough" reason to many surgeons, for removing otherwise healthy organs.

Have a chat with your treatment team - ask them for facts, figures, and their experiences with women who DO have a positive family history for breast cancer.

Many warm wishes,


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