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Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family

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Unread 12-18-2000, 02:05 PM
Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family

Thanks for the suggestion to contact the Cancer section of HysterSisters. I have a question for people out there. I am scheduled to go into have a hyster. in the new year but still debating about my ovaries. My family gallops as far as having cancer - my mom died of colon cancer in Jan. this past year, brother with throat c., uncle with colon, cousin my age 48 with breast and now bone, another cousin with colon. Wow see what I mean. I heard somewhere that your chances are greater for ovarian cancer if family background of others. Anyone ever heard of this? If an ovary is left in and later develops cancer how can one tell if the uterus is gone? What are the signs? Would it be better to have everything out at once? Thanks. Any advice would be helpful in making my decision. Any stat's as well.
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Unread 12-18-2000, 04:22 PM
Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family

Hello there.
I have a biased opinion on this question. I had an ovarian tumor that was diagnosed as on with low malignancy potential. I had a TAH/BSO in June. I have helped start a chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition in my area, and since then have heard personal stories from women not as lucky as me. I know that there are questions about going on HRT after your ovaries are removed. I am using the Vivelle Dot Patch for estrogen replacement. I know if it were me, I would not want to worry about ovarian cancer later since this disease sneaks up on women. Often when it is found, the cancer has spread to other organs etc. I would not want to have to go under general anesthesia again for possible abdominal surgery again some day.
My opinion only, good luck to you making a hard decision.
Good luck with your surgery and recovery.
Unread 12-18-2000, 06:09 PM
Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family

This is a tough decision . If they are left than it will be more difficult to tell when you start menopause and need to begin HRT also ovarian cancer is not usually caught early and can easily spread to other organs. My dr says he usually recommends that anyone under 45 keep them as long as they are healthy because then you won't need HRT but after 45 it is better to remove them. With the history of cancer in your family I would lose them but that's not my decision to make. You might also want to read the Hormone Jungle board to see some of the things women taking HRT are dealing with before you make your decision.
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Unread 12-18-2000, 08:28 PM
Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family


I'm also biased about this also but I'll answer anyway. I too have a very significant family history - mother & aunt with breast cancer, father with lung/colon cancer, we lost all of them at early ages. I had been told for years due to my mother, I had to start getting mammograms at age 30. NOT one person ever told me the increased chance of ovarian cancer, which I was diagnosed with earlier this year, at age 38! As far as symptoms for ovarian cancer, this is what makes it such a hard cancer to identify. The more common symptoms are irregular periods, irregular bowel movements, bloating, frequent urination, gas/indigestion, nausea, etc all of which are frequently misdiagnosed as they are also symptoms for a number of other problems. In my particular case, several of the symptoms were my "normal" so I never realized anything was wrong and was stage 3 when it was found, thanks to a little birdie nudging me to get some blood work done.

Again, I'm sorry for butting in with my obviously biased opinion. I know this is a difficult decision and wish you the best of luck no matter what you decide.

Take care,

Unread 12-19-2000, 05:59 AM
Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family

I would have to lean towards taking them out if I were you. Now keep in mind though, that this is a decision that you have to make yourself. Considering all of the cancer in your family, I would be leary of keeping my ovaries and then someday be facing yet another surgery. Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best of luck!
I'm glad that you came here to post...I told you that these ladies here are smart cookies!
Unread 01-01-2001, 05:57 PM
Keep Ovaries or not?

Well, here's my story and after watching my mother die a slow death of ovarian cancer I to, have a biased opinion.
Mother was diagnosed at age 70 with ovarian cancer, no symptoms showed up until she was already a stage 4. Also no family history of cancer. She died 2 years later (1996)
Since she was diagnosed, I have been going in for ultrasounds on my uterus and ovaries every six months since my doctor considered me high risk. Last fall those ultrasounds showed, ovarian cysts, multiple fibroid tumors and the beginnings of a prolapsed uterus(4 kids caused that!)When she (the DR.) said let's do it , I did!!!
I had a TAH on Dec. 15,2000 and not regretting the decision!
Good Luck
Crooks, South Dakota
Unread 01-02-2001, 06:06 PM
Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family

After talking to my doctor I decided to have my ovaries out. My mother had late stage breast cancer and my sister was diagnosed in May 2000. I work in a Cancer Center and was able to talk to some docs. They felt that having my ovaries out was a very good idea. I will be having a hysterectomy (for fibroids) 1/18/00 and although nervous will be looking forward to not having my monthly or sometimes twice monthly problems. I also won't have to worry about my ovaries. It's a tough decision that should be discussed with your doctor. What made my decision was the cancer in my family.
Unread 01-02-2001, 08:34 PM
Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family

I guess I have a unique perspective here since I write for the hormone jungle and hostess the board and had a kind of ovarian cancer. And my last roommate in the hospital was brought in with late stage ovarian cancer, and that was frightening.

The thing is, it's definitely tied to breast cancer through various genetic links, but--as far as I know--isn't tied to colon cancer in any strong way. In fact, it seems as though women who take estrogen for HRT (who are in natural menopause) cut their risk of colon cancer in half. They're still figuring out why that might be.

I guess I would tend to have my ovaries out but consider low dose HRT, in your shoes. If your doctor approves, of course. And do the other things that lower risks--most of all exercise and anti-oxidant rich diet. There are other things about assessing the risk of breast cancer and what studies have suggested lower risk in an article at http://www.hormonejungle.com in the pulldown menu.

I'm probably too late, but I thought I'd toss my two cents in. Let us know what you decided and how things turned out.
Unread 01-04-2001, 04:26 PM
Take ovaries out too? Cancer in family

Hi! Have your talked to your doctor about getting into a genetics study which can test to see if you personally have a gene mutation which makes you susceptible to ovarian cancer? There is a gene mutation in my family which was determined after a close female relative of mine got breast cancer at 34. The results for the tests took some months to come back and the results were positive, she did have this gene mutation. (I'm sorry, I can't remember what it's called - it basically makes you prone to breast and ovarian cancers) She also has fibroids and cysts and her doctors were on the fence whether or not to do a hysterectomy to control the pain. When the test results came back positive, they all strongly recommended the complete hysterectomy. I hope this helps.

Hug and Best wishes

Unread 01-11-2001, 02:58 PM
To take the ovaries or not.....

As with the other responses, it remains a controversial decision. The symptoms associated with ovarian cancer are insidious over time, mimic a lot of other problems and there's no screening test currently available to detect it. By the time a person notices the symptoms, the disease has spread and the survival outcome drops.
My "vote" would be to have them removed. Would also go with an abdominal surgical approach versus laproscopic etc to be sure the surgeon has a clear view of everything.
If you haven't already done so, I strongly encourage you to obtain a 2nd opinion at a tertiary or research/teaching hospital closest to where you live as its at these centers where the most up-to-the-minute testing, research and clinical trials are being done. Its a big decision to make. Don't make it uninformed as to all the options and effects of same short and long-term.
I am fortunate in that I don't have that same family history. I am having a TAH with BSO Jan. 15th with no regrets or 2nd thoughts. My surgery is being done for a signif enlargement of a known fibroid + increased uterine size. My surgeon told me that since I have been on HRT for nearly 2 yrs (I started perimenopause when I was 44) and given the fact my pituitary is probably having to "scream" at my ovaries now to get them to produce anything, he rec'd removal. As I don't qualify for a vaginal or laparoscopic approach, the abdominal route will permit him to have a good look-see at everything. I am feeling such pressure and so much discomfort now that I am more than ready. I am also acutely aware the symptoms enlarging fibroids produce exactly mimic those for ovarian cancer. I don't want any further abdominal surgery--take 'em and be done with it.
Good luck to you--let us know what you decide to do!

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