Barts Health releases ovarian cancer study results

A research report conducted at Barts Health and Queen Mary University of London has provided some clear and concise data on how women diagnosed with ovarian cancer make choices about preventive surgery.

Women who have BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations have between 17-44% lifetime risk of ovarian cancer. This study aimed to explore 24 women who were deemed to be at high risk of suffering from ovarian cancer in the future.

Standard surgery induces menopause in women, however the proposed alternative two step protocol delays the induced menopause caused by the removal of the ovaries. It offers women the option of “staggering” their surgeries, in the hope that the delayed second surgery avoids incurring early menopause.

The study found that women who were more concerned about cancer risk than about menopause preferred the standard surgery, but those who were more concerned about the detrimental impact of menopause chose the two-step procedure.

Author Professor Ranjit Manchanda, consultant gynaecological oncologist at The Royal London Hospital, said: “This study shows that a number of women prefer a two-step operation to manage their ovarian cancer risk. It is important for women to be given different options so that they can choose what is best for them. 

 “Women are happier with their care in specialist family cancer clinics. We need to set up a system for women at higher risk of gynaecological cancers to access such centres, which are able to provide a more streamlined and holistic approach.”