Prevention of ovarian cancer: a survey of the practice of prophylactic oophorectomy by fellows and members of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

I Jacobs, D Oram
British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 1989, 96 (5): 510-5
A questionnaire designed to investigate attitudes to prophylactic oophorectomy was sent to 2817 fellows and members of the Royal college of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. A total of 1142 replies was received from those who performed regular sessions of gynaecological surgery. The number of respondents who said they would usually remove apparently normal ovaries at the time of abdominal hysterectomy from premenopausal women in age groups 35-39, 40-44, 45-49 and over 49 years was 4 (0.4%), 27 (2%), 234 (20%) and 585 (51%) respectively, and from postmenopausal women 974 (85%). The majority of respondents said that (i) they would prescribe hormone replacement therapy in oophorectomized premenopausal women (82%); (ii) they did not consider unilateral oophorectomy to have a role in prevention of ovarian cancer (84%); and (iii) they routinely discussed the question of prophylactic oophorectomy with their patients before operation (65%). Only 128 (11%) of the respondents believed that greater than or equal to 10% of ovarian cancers in the UK could be prevented by prophylactic oophorectomy at the time of operation for benign disease, and 505 (44%) would perform prophylactic oophorectomy as a primary surgical procedure in women who had a strong family history of ovarian cancer.

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