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Prophylactic oophorectomy after treatment?

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Question from KC: My ob-gyn doctor has suggested that I have a prophylactic oophorectomy. I completed treatment—lumpectomy, chemo and radiation—two years ago for Stage III breast cancer (six positive nodes). The chemo put me into instant menopause at age 47, and I've been on Aromasin for nearly two years. I have no family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer. I am concerned about possible ill effects on my heart, bones, and loss of male hormone production. What is your opinion?
Answers - Lynn Hartmann In general we consider prophylactic oophorectomy in women whose risk of ovarian cancer is significant, such as those who are BRCA carriers or those who have a strong family history of breast cancer, with or without ovarian cancer. In your particular situation, this does not seem to be the case.

Or in other younger women who've had breast cancer, we may remove the ovaries to cut down the ovaries' production of estrogen. Since you have already gone through menopause with your chemotherapy, your ovaries are not making much estrogen. I think that you should discuss the rationale for having your ovaries removed with your oncologist in addition to your gynecologist.

This Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Risk Reduction featured Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Lynn Hartmann answering your questions about breast cancer risk factors and ways to lower your risk.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in February 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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