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Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer? Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

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  #1  
Unread 08-17-2005, 12:40 PM
Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

I am scheduled for LAVH on August 26. I will need to tell my doctor whether to remove my ovaries or not. When I last saw her, she recommended that I have them removed because doing so cuts down on the chances of having ovarian cancer. I was leaning toward going with this advice until the publication of a study within the last week or so showing that the negatives outweigh the positives in this scenario.

I have tried to do a great deal of research about the issue, but I feel overwhelmed. I am hoping someone here may be able to direct me to a resource or two (not 20 or 30, please) to help me weigh my options. I am 52 years old. I do NOT have a family history of ovarian cancer. I have a sister who had breast cancer; she is many years post-op with no recurrence. The only other cancer in my family is my father's lung cancer, which was definitely caused by his smoking. I have seen a lot of info that recommends against removing the ovaries unless there is a family history of cancer. Most of this refers to ovarian cancer specifically, but I have seen a few oblique references to breast cancer. I would like to know whether my sister's breast cancer is a risk factor for ovarian cancer.

My GYN told me she leans toward taking them out in a woman my age (52), but told me it is entirely my decision. My doctor referred to the fact that ovarian cancer is usually detected too late. Is there no test that can be done like a PAP for cervical or PSA for testicular cancer?

On top of it all, I am really, really nervous about my upcoming surgery. I can use all the support I can get.
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  #2  
Unread 08-17-2005, 02:48 PM
Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

Hi Navi, welcome to the list. There was a discussion on this a few days ago, you can find it at this link.

https://www.hystersisters.com/vb2/sho...d.php?t=217084

There are lots of pro and con postings here, lots of info and opinions. You're not the only one to struggle with this question! <g>

HollyK
  #3  
Unread 08-18-2005, 08:25 AM
Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

My hyst is not scheduled yet as I have to se a urogyn before it is scheduled to make sure there is no prolapse. Reason for hyst is fibroids, pain, bowel problems, pain down leg, etc., I just to turned 50 and therefore it is recommended to take out the ovaries. I will be taking them out as there is a family history of breast cancer. Also, during a breast reduction a few years ago, in path report it came back as having DCIS + LCIS - didn't spread. I had radiation and now I am on Tamoxifen for precaution. So yes, the ovaries willk be removed. It was extremely scarry for me dealing with the breast cancer issue. I met many women with stories of breast cancer much worse than mine and I learned a lot. At 52 your ovaries are hardly doing anything for you. Ovarian cancer is deadly and undetectable. Your sister had cancer and also your father. Christopher Reeve's wife was just diagnosed with lung cancer and never smoked. I know I would sleep better with them out especially since they are already in there anyway. What are the medical reasons for keeping the ovaries at 52 years old? The possibility of undetected ovarian cancer in a women who is already 52 outweighs any benefits I can determine for keeping them. But I an not a doctor and it is only my humble opinion.
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  #4  
Unread 08-18-2005, 08:46 AM
Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

Hi Navi~

Here are just 2 links which will explain the risk factors for getting ovarian cancer if you have a sister who has had breast cancer:
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/c...n_cancer_33.asp
Imaginis - Ovarian Cancer - Risk Factors

I will aslo refer you back to a recent thread with a lot of good information from various sisters facing having their ovaries removed or not...take note of my posts:
Hysterectomy Information - HysterSisters - oophorectomy - to be or not to be?

My prayers are with you in making your decision and for an uneventful surgery and recovery!

's
Heni
  #5  
Unread 08-18-2005, 08:49 AM
Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

Navi....sorry....here are those 2 links again....

http://imaginis.com/ovarian-cancer/risk.asp

http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/c...n_cancer_33.asp
  #6  
Unread 08-18-2005, 10:50 AM
Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

All I can tell you is that my mother had breast cancer after a TAH/BSO and HRT. When I ended up having to have my hysterectomy (age 39) my doc recommended I keep my ovaries if they looked okay because she did NOT want me to be on HRT. Seems there is at least a questionable link between HRT and breast cancer. Hope you find the answers you're looking for.
  #7  
Unread 08-18-2005, 11:26 AM
Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

Hi Navi,

I was 46 when I had my LSH over a year ago and I kept my ovaries. They are still working great. I get some mild PMS symptoms each month, just no period.

My Dr. said my ovaries were healthy and he left the decision to keep them or not keep them up to me. I did some research and found that the ovaries secrete important hormones that help with the bones, skin and hair, just to name a few. Even into menopause. Also, I wanted to go through natural menopause instead of surgical menopause if I was a candidate.

My mom had breast cancer and took HRT before the cancer arrived. She had a lumpectomy and is fine today. As Janet mentioned, there is a ~questionable~ link between HRT and breast cancer still being researched.

Also, my Dr. said that ovarian cancer runs in approx 5% of women. I thought I had good oddss. I felt hormone loss with the removal of my ovaries might ~outweigh~ my risk of cancer.

Also, I have read several posts on Hyster Sisters that ladies with endo and/or cysts have a higher percentage of post-op ovary removal. I did not have either.

The ovaries are a very personal decision. If you decide on surgical menopause, check out the HRT - No HRT forum area to meet some ladies who opted for ovary removal.

Best wishes. Do not worry. You will make a good choice for yourself. I have seen this posted several times on Hyster Sisters. "If it is not broken...why fix it??" One year post op, I still think I made the right decision for myself.

Mary
  #8  
Unread 08-22-2005, 08:53 PM
Thank you ladies

My pre-op appointments with the surgeons are tomorrow. With your help I have done my research and I am ready; I'm confident I will come out of those meetings with decisions made that will be the best for ME. Thank you VERY, VERY much.

Navi
  #9  
Unread 08-22-2005, 09:34 PM
Ovarian Cancer...

Navi, I am wrestling with the same decision-whether or not to keep my ovaries. My grandmother died of Ovarian cancer but I am seriously thinking of keeping them because I am quite young and feel that it is too soon to start HRT. I don't have any information for you but I do have support. You can do this, girlfriend, I know it. Set up your recovery space and get ready for some real time for you!
  #10  
Unread 08-23-2005, 12:12 AM
Is family history of breast cancer a risk factor for ovarian cancer?

If you're concerned about the genetic link to ovarian cancer, there is a test for the BRCA1 & BRCA2 markers (for breast cancer) which are also an indication for the known genetic form of ovarian cancer. If you truly are at high risk (a genetic counselor or oncologist can help you make that determination) then oophorectomy may be best for your longterm health. It's important to take a measured look at all of your risk factors in your family, including any preexisting conditions you have such as hypertension, diabetes, bone loss or cardiovascular disease. As part of the endocrine system, ovaries are an integral part of your overall health when they're healthy.

Here's an excellent article you also might want to print out and read: The Rationale for Ovarian Conservation. It's a few years old and doesn't include the newest information you referred to, such as new findings that show that women who have oophorectomies may not live as long as those who conserve them at the time of hysterectomy and that the ovaries continue to produce the same levels of hormones (androgens) even after natural menopause (dispelling the myth that the ovaries are useless after menopause).

At this time there is no reliable test for ovarian cancer, though there are at least four in the works - the first comes on the market later this year in Australia and the others are in tests are still testing or getting approvals. There is a blood test that's currently used, but is not very reliable and is used when a woman has symptoms of some sort. However, the risks of ovarian cancer are low, and get much lower after a hysterectomy (about 1 in 300).

I'm glad you're doing your research! There is on one-decision-fits-all-solution - do what's right for you.

Take care.
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