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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Oct 1;23(28):6890-8. Epub 2005 Aug 29.

Quality-of-life effects of prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy versus gynecologic screening among women at increased risk of hereditary ovarian cancer.

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Division of Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology, Department of Gynecology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



Recommendations for women at high risk of ovarian cancer include periodic gynecologic screening (GS) and prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (PBSO). The aim of the current study was to determine the quality-of-life (QOL) effects of PBSO versus GS.


Questionnaire data were obtained from 846 high-risk women who had participated in this nationwide, cross-sectional, observational study. Forty-four percent of the women had undergone PBSO, and 56% had opted for GS. Topics addressed by the questionnaire included generic QOL, cancer-specific distress, endocrine symptoms, and sexual functioning.


No statistically significant between-group differences were observed in generic QOL (Short Form-36), with women in both the PBSO and GS groups scoring similarly to the general population. Compared with GS, PBSO was associated with fewer breast and ovarian cancer worries (P < .001) and more favorable cancer risk perception (P < .05). However, the PBSO group reported significantly more endocrine symptoms (P < .001) and worse sexual functioning (P < .05) than the GS group. Eighty-six percent of women would choose PBSO again, and 63% would recommend it to a friend with familial risk of ovarian cancer.


PBSO had no measurable adverse impact on generic QOL of high-risk women. The favorable effects of PBSO in terms of reduced cancer worries and low perceived cancer risk need to be weighed against the increase in endocrine and sexual symptoms. Balanced information will help clinicians and high-risk women to make informed decisions about the optimal preventive health strategy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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