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Family history of breast/ov cancer--should I have hyster to prevent? Family history of breast/ov cancer--should I have hyster to prevent?

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Unread 02-01-2003, 07:06 AM
Family history of breast/ov cancer--should I have hyster to prevent?

Hi! I have a family history of both breast and ovarian cancer (mother, aunt, sister, cousin, great aunts).

My sister's doctor suggested everyone in our family have hysterectomies to prevent ov cancer and also to help prevent breast cancer, which in our family is estrogen receptive.

I am 38, with no diagnosis of cancer, but am considering the surgery in order to prevent any cancer.

My doctor agrees to the hysterectomy, but I'm a little leary of the afteraffects.

Has anyone done this, or does anyone have opinions on the subject?

Looking for help!

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Unread 02-01-2003, 11:34 AM
Have you consulted a gyn/onc?

The gyn/onc would offer a second opinion and would be able to evaluate your particular risk. I know it's a very hard decision to make and definitely a second opinion would be warranted. Best wishes no matter which path you choose.
Unread 02-01-2003, 12:25 PM
Family history of breast/ov cancer--should I have hyster to prevent?


Most of the large cancer centers have doctors who specialize in genetics and cancer who do counseling on such matters and can run through the pros and cons of preventive surgery. There is also an online group called FORCE that is composed entirely of women at risk for ovarian/breast cancer.

I started down that road with screening for ovarian cancer(Mom had both breast and ovarian cancer), but at my first screening (CA125 + vaginal ultrasound), my results were abnormal and my "preventive" hyst caught early ovarian cancer.

It is a tough decision - get as many opinions as it takes til you are comfortable

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Unread 02-01-2003, 12:49 PM
Testing First

I had a hyst due to possible ovarian cancer (ovarian mass and an elevated CA-125)and was found out after hyst that I didn't have Ovarian cancer but that I had Cervical cancer (that was not dected through a pap 1 month earlier).

I would go for testing first, before going ahead with the hyst if I was in your shoes.

If you are not having any problems, just a family history, I would go for testing first. Having a hyst is a major operation, and, I believe, it should not gone into it lightly. I dont want to sound harsh, but, would you have a bilateral mastectomy to avoid breast cancer?? There are some tests that can be done with out being too invasive.

I am sorry if I sound too harsh, but, I don't believe in having surgery unless absolutely necessary. So, If possible go thru, testing (genetic or otherwise) before having hyst.
Unread 02-01-2003, 07:08 PM
Family history of breast/ov cancer--should I have hyster to prevent?

This is a pretty good analysis of prophylactic hysterectomy and ovariectomy and how to think about the risks--

It's a very tough decision. Especialy if you have no hrt.
Unread 02-02-2003, 03:41 PM
Family history of breast/ov cancer--should I have hyster to prevent?

Hi Karen!

I can only imagine how difficult a decision this must be for you. I also had a family history of breast cancer on both sides (mother, aunt) and had ovarian myself.

When mine was originally discovered I was actually in the process of checking into gene testing due to the breast cancer. At the time, I was sure if my insurance would cover it and if they did cover it, under what circumstances. Instead I had the CA125 drawn and I was pretty lucky a problem was discovered at that point.

However, I later found out that my insurance company does in fact cover the gene testing but as long as certain criteria was met. In our case it was covered with two "immediate" family members which in their definition of immediate was mother, father, sister, brother. No grandparents or aunts/uncles.

You might want to check and see what your insurance will cover and incorporate any results from those as well into your decision. As the other gals have said, this is certainly a tough decision and one that shouldn't be made hastily as there's no going back.

I wish you the best and hope that you'll be able to make a decision you're comfortable with.



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