A Mayo Clinic research team has found evidence suggesting that premenopausal women who are not at high risk of ovarian cancer should not have their ovaries removed for the purpose of cancer prevention. Premature removal of the ovaries can lead to a higher risk of anywhere from 8 to 18 chronic health conditions including coronary artery disease, depression, and osteoporosis. Researchers believe that removing a significant source of estrogen from premenopausal women or, in this study, women under the age of 46, causes multiple systemic problems in the body. However, in some cases, receiving estrogen therapy did reduce some risks in young women who had undergone an oophorectomy.
“This study provides new and stronger evidence against the use of bilateral oophorectomy for prevention in young women,” says Walter Rocca, M.D., lead author of the study. “Bilateral oophorectomy should not be considered an ethically acceptable option for the prevention of ovarian cancer in the majority of women who do not carry a high-risk genetic variant.”